The Blackhawks’ absence from the postseason over the past seven years is largely (rightfully) blamed on former general manager Stan Bowman, whose draft record left a lot to be desired and trade record didn’t hit often enough.
With new general manager Kyle Davidson now guiding the ship, he’s looking to overhaul the organization. But there may be some pieces left over from Bowman’s tenure that could still prove beneficial to the organization moving forwards.
These four trades made by Bowman could still pay dividends for the Blackhawks in the future.
• Feb. 24, 2020 — traded defenseman Erik Gustafsson to the Calgary Flames for a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. That pick became defenseman Wyatt Kaiser (No. 81 overall).
Kaiser just completed his second season at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He scored two goals with 17 assists in 34 games and finished fourth on the Bulldogs with 41 blocked shots. Duluth finished the season ranked sixth in the country. He’ll return for a junior season but many like his upside as a defenseman.
• Oct. 7, 2020 — traded a seventh-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft to the seventh-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft (No. 188 – Louis Crevier).
Crevier is a massive defenseman (6-8, 214) who is still 21 years old. Even though he was a seventh-round pick, Crevier was the first contract handed out by Davidson when he became the interim general manager in Chicago.
We included Crevier in our breakdown of the future of Chicago’s blue line.
• April 8, 2021 — traded defenseman Lucas Carlsson and forward Lucas Wallmark to the Florida Panthers for forward Brett Connolly, defenseman Riley Stillman, center Henrik Borgström and a seventh-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft (No. 216 forward Jalen Luypen).
Connolly will continue to be buried it appears with a cap hit that isn’t ideal; Bowman received the other pieces in this trade to get his albatross cap hit off Florida’s books. The jury is still out on how Borgström fits in the center picture in Chicago. And Stillman signed a three-year deal with the Blackhawks while Bowman was still the general manager and is part of the crowded blue line for next year (for now).
Luypen, however, is an interesting prospect for an organization that desperately needs forward depth. In 66 games with Edmonton in the WHL, he scored 29 goals with 35 assists, more than doubling his point production from his draft year. Listed at 5-10 and 157 pounds, Luypen finished third on the Oil Kings in goals and fourth with 200 shots on net. With Davidson leading the front office, he indicated the organization wants him to potentially be the next Brandon Hagel.
“A lot of conversation when talking to player development, (Brandon) Hagel’s name gets brought up a lot,” Luypen told The Athletic in December. “When I watch their games, they want me to watch Hagel every time he’s on the ice. They see me kind of being like him in the future, and I totally see that as well. It’s exciting. That’s basically what I’ve been hearing from them.”
• April 12, 2021 — traded defenseman Madison Bowey and a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft to the Vancouver Canucks for a fourth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft (No. 104 Ethan Del Mastro).
Like Crevier, Del Mastro has already received a contract from Davidson. He had 48 points in 68 games with Mississauga in the OHL this past season and the organization may view him — and Crevier — as part of the next wave of defenseman who will receive ample time to develop in Rockford.