Blackhawks Offseason Rebuild Hitting Some Rocky Waters

During the last week, the Chicago Blackhawks have changed their whole mindset for the 2020-21 NHL season. The team has parted ways with Brandon Saad and Corey Crawford, in favor of younger talent. This hasn’t sat well with the veterans on the team.

Stan Bowman Starting a Rebuild

It seems odd that it’s taken general manager Stan Bowman this long to rebuild the team. He should have done this a few seasons ago. The Blackhawks have missed the playoffs two of the last three seasons, something that is unacceptable.

Stan Bowman Chicago Blackhawks
Stan Bowman, Chicago Blackhawks, 2019 NHL Draft (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Last season, they were the youngest team in the expanded playoffs, doesn’t that mean something? There’s no need for an entire blow-up of the Blackhawks when they just have a few spots to fill before the season starts.

Related: Blackhawks’ Worst Trades of All-Time

There’s a difference between going younger and blowing up the whole team. The Blackhawks have been getting younger in the past few seasons. Parting ways with a few veterans to help add a cushion to their salary cap isn’t an issue as long as they can replace them. Right now, they haven’t replaced them.

If Chicago won’t replace the roles of Saad and Crawford with real talent, 2020-21 will be a long season. If Bowman plans on tearing down the Blackhawks, which isn’t fully needed, these next few years will be hard to watch.

Blackhawks Missed the Boat On Finding a New Goalie

The Blackhawks have missed the boat on a goalie for their team. There should have been offers made for a few goalies, with the top one being Jacob Markstrom. If not Markstrom, the Blackhawks should have pushed harder to get Matt Murray. he is 26 years old and already has won two Stanley Cups. He could have been the long-term fix to the Blackhawks’ goalie problem.

There’s still a long way to go before the season starts up again. The Blackhawks could still trade for a goalie. That’s one of their last-ditch efforts to remain a playoff hopeful.

Jonathan Toews’ Comments Are Alarming

Just hearing that the veterans of the team are unhappy with the direction should worry the fans of the Blackhawks. The fact that Bowman has kept the future plans away from at least Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane means something.

Jonathan Toews Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

I’m not implying that the two will be traded, as both Kane and Toews have no-movement clauses and are being paid $10.5 million per season, until 2023-24. The issue there is, they should be brought in to know the future of the team. They’re still in their prime and the team’s future was looking up after last season.

Bowman flipping the switch and now rebuilding the Blackhawks, after how promising last season looked, is terrible. What’s even worse is how he is impacting the veterans in a negative way.

Toews aired his thoughts to Mark Lazerus of The Athletic over the weekend:

“The expectation for the other leaders on this team and myself is to come ready to training camp every year to be a playoff team. I’ve never been told that we were going through a rebuild. That has never been communicated to me, for that matter. A lot of this comes as a shock because it’s a completely different direction than we expected.”

from ‘Blackhawks’ latest moves shock, upset core vets like Jonathan Toews: ‘It’s sad,’’ The Athletic – 10/11/2020

Toews wants to win now. That reflects on the rest of the veterans too, not just him. He is a leader on the team, if he wasn’t told about a rebuild, no other player has been, either. It’s worrisome.

How the Core Players Will Be Impacted By This

The Blackhawks are getting towards the end of an era. Fans are left to see just Kane, Toews, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook still in Chicago from that 2010 Stanley Cup roster. The rest are all gone.

Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks celebrate (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Kane and Toews are fairly young still, at 31 and 32, respectfully, but Keith and Seabrook are towards the end of their careers and won’t be much help for a rebuild. They’re just here to ride the last years of their contract out.

Related: Jonathan Toews – Beyond the Glory

Kane and Toews are the players who will be most impacted by this. They’re still in Chicago, playing at a top-level. They’re ready to win now, and they’re being held back.

Maybe this won’t take too long, but it’s hard to tell. At the end of the day, fans want to see one more Stanley Cup, with Kane and Toews being part of that team.


Sign up for our regular 'Blackhawks Newsletter' for all the latest.