Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Blackhawks Offseason and Other Things That Don't Make Sense

Dale Tallon is just as responsible to the dismantling of the 2010 Championship Blackhawks as he was for creating it.  Tallon drafted Kane, Toews, Keith, Seabrook, Byfuglien and Niemi.  He signed Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa.  He also signed Cristobal Huet and Brian Campbell to over-inflated contracts.  He also failed to make qualifying offers to his restricted free agents on time in the summer of '09, causing him to scramble and offer more money to Versteeg, Eager, Barker, and Brouwer than they were worth.  Unfortunately for Tallon, he was fired for the latter gaffe and did not get to enjoy the championship team he created.  Rather, Stan Bowman got to enjoy the ride and take some of the credit by re-signing some of the players Tallon drafted/signed.  However, Bowman really has yet to do much of anything.

This summer has been more of the same from Bowman.  Free agency opened on July 1.  In that time, the Blackhawks have signed Sheldon Brookbank and... well, that's it.  An underwhelming defenseman has been added for depth, when Hawks fans had been promised that the defense would be bolstered (Brookbank is hardly "bolstering") and that a suitable second-line center would be found.  Neither have happened.  Why am I not shocked?

Let's check Bowman's track record.  Midseason and offseason signings by Stan Bowman: Andrew Ebbett (his only goal for the Hawks was a puck that deflected off his chest), Nick Boynton, Jamal Mayers, Sean O'Donnell, Steve Montador, Daniel Carcillo, Brendan Morrison, Andrew Brunette, Sami Lepisto and Ray Emery (probably his best free agent signing); just to name a few.

Trades by Bowman?  Jack Skille traded for Alexander Salak and Michael Frolik (we just waived Salak), Brian Campbell for Rostislav Olesz (the move was really designed to dump cap space, but Olesz played fewer than a dozen games for the Hawks and spends most of his time in Rockford), Versteeg for Stalberg (not bad actually), Byfuglien for Slater and Morin, etc.  Point is, nothing impressive.

Not every move as a GM is going to be a homerun, but it hurts for me to say that besides Emery, the free agent signing that has worked out best for Bowman was Daniel Carcillo.  Carcillo showed more offensive upside than most expected, but his season was cut short by himself when he decided to illegally check Tom Gilbert from behind and Gilbert fell on Carcillo's knee.  And that's Bowman's second-best signing.

I guess I'll give Bowman credit for making offers to Brodeur, Parise,Suter, but already it seems he's given up on signing anyone else this offseason; Bowman doesn't think we have a bad squad now.  When have I heard this before?  Maybe it was two years ago when we decided to move Sharp back to wing (great move, for real) and we needed a second-line center.  Maybe it was last summer when we still didn't have a second-line center; 'Maybe Kane can play center...?'.  Maybe it was at the trade deadline last year when we STILL didn't have a second-line center; 'Maybe I can get Jesse Rogers to pitch Brendan Morrison as a viable answer at center...'.  This is just one example.  Other examples could include our failure to actually bolster the defense and possibly sign a goalie.  What exactly does this guy DO?

Tallon had his flaws, but at least he made real moves.  Since leaving the Hawks, Tallon has made the Panthers into a playoff team.  Coincidence?  No.  In the meantime, Hawks fans will wait for Bowman to deliver on his empty promises.

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