The Chicago Blackhawks opened up the season as favorites to win the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row and it’s easy to see why. Jonathan Towes is arguably the best captain in the National Hockey League and he is 25 years old. Patrick Kane is one of the most prolific scorers in the league and he is 24. The team’s defense is a combination of youth and experience with all of them in their prime. The team’s supporting cast at forward includes former all star Patrick Sharp and former 40 goal scorer Marian Hossa.
The team is currently situated 2nd in the league and is on a bit of a roll recently.
Blackhawks: 4 straight wins, 7-0-1 in last 8 games, scoring 5 or more goals 6 times..Alexander Steen (STL): 2 goals, NHL-leading 16
— John Buccigross (@Buccigross) November 15, 2013
It would be easy for Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman to sit back and ride with the team he has. That’s not usually Bowman’s style and he continues to add pieces that make this team poised for a repeat. Late last night Bowman struck a deal with the Florida Panthers to bring back former Blackhawk cup-winning forward and fan favorite Kris Versteeg. Bowman released the following statement on the Blackhawks website:
“We are excited to bring Kris back to Chicago and are pleased to add a player with his experience and versatility to our lineup” said Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman. “Kris is well respected within our organization and will be able to make a seamless transition to our team because of his familiarity with many of our players and with Coach Quenneville. This move strengthens our team depth and Kris’ skill is a great complement to our current roster.”
The deal works pretty well for both teams, but with a win-now mentality in Chicago it is perfection. The team bought low on Versteeg who was struggled this season with the Panthers after dealing with injuries and ended up being a healthy scratch a few times. If he can return to form this deal is a steal for Chicago. According to The Sporting News, Florida also retains half of Versteeg’s salary for the remainder of his contract.
There hasn’t been a repeat Stanley Cup winner since the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings. There hasn’t been an organization to win three Stanley Cups in five years since the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980’s.
Chicago is in a good spot to do it. Enjoy the ride folks, it could be a fun spring.