Most professional sports teams have one or two top players that the team revolves around. That isn’t the case for teams that have multiple star players, such as the Chicago Blackhawks. The debate of who the best player is will likely never end, and it doesn’t matter at the end of the day. Multiple star players are one of the many reasons that the Blackhawks are one of the best teams in the league. Besides the obvious perk of consistent dominance, there are plenty of pros and cons to having multiple star players on one team.
Pro: No Reliance on One Player
When Carey Price suffered an MCL injury that kept him out for most of the 2015-16 season, the Montreal Canadiens kissed their playoff dreams goodbye. Price and the Habs are a perfect example as to why it can be dangerous to rely so much on one player. The Hawks don’t have to worry about the season going under due to a serious injury. If Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane face a serious injury, there are plenty of other players to help the Hawks through. Although the team would struggle if a top player was injured, the chances of it ruining the season are small.
Con: Salary Cap Issues
In the summer of 2014, both Kane and Toews signed eight-year contract extensions worth $84 million each. Due to their caliber as players, extensive and expensive contracts were necessary. Unfortunately, the contracts took up a significant amount of cap space. With the small cap space remaining, it’s hard to hang onto other players. The Hawks have lost plenty of good players due to the salary cap in recent years, including Andrew Shaw, Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp. The Hawks wanted to keep them around, but couldn’t afford to.
The Hawks have ups and downs throughout the season, but always seem to persevere. Plenty of their players are seasoned veterans and know how to overcome tough situations, making any obstacle achievable. Despite a rough start to the 2016-17 season, they’re second overall in the Western Conference.
The Detroit Red Wings had a 3-1 lead over the Hawks in the 2013 Western Conference Semi-Finals, and Chicago won the series in seven games. That same year, they scored two goals in 17 seconds to win the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins. With experience comes wisdom, and the Hawks know how to win under pressure.
Con: Less Focus on the Future
Several Blackhawks players are under long-term contracts, leaving little room for new talent. The salary cap issues often lead to players getting traded away in exchange for draft picks, and the Hawks often miss drafting the top prospects. Although many of their top players are under 30, the Hawks will eventually have to replace old players with new ones. The Hawks still have several good years left with Toews and Kane, but will eventually have to look into the future instead of the present. If they want to continue on their current path, they’re going to have to start looking for ways to get the top prospects.
Initially, a team with multiple star players looks like the ideal scenario. There are no perfect scenarios in sports, and the issues the Hawks have with the salary cap are evidence. The Hawks have used their star power to their advantage, but it won’t last forever. Despite the many perks and strengths, having a star-studded team isn’t as perfect as it appears.
Illinois State University graduate and lifelong Chicago Blackhawks fan. I also write for The Odyssey at Illinois State and Fans Talk Sports. Other than hockey, I love to write historical fiction and nonfiction.