As the Chicago Blackhawks recently hit the half-way point in the season, the talks about the trade deadline have heated up. Salary cap issues have been well-documented but the organization has also been factoring in an off-season event. Chicago is hosting the 2017 NHL Draft and GM Stan Bowman would like to give the hometown fans something to cheer about.
The Blackhawks have traded their last two number 1 picks to make late season Stanley Cup runs. In 2015 they traded the pick for Antoine Vermette and Andrew Ladd in 2016. This year they would like to hang on to their early picks for the draft in Chicago.
In November, Bowman told ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun the following,
“We’re trying to make it a big event, and everyone is excited about hosting it,” Bowman said. “So from that perspective, we’re probably going to try to hang on to those picks. Now, anything is possible. But it’s unlikely that I would be moving the early picks in the draft.”
Bowman made these comments but he may not want to show his hand. It would be hard to believe that he wouldn’t trade those picks to make a Stanley Cup run this season.
One of the main reasons I’m taking Bowman’s comments lightly is Coach Quenneville’s reluctance to play young players throughout his career. The last two number 1 picks for the team, Ryan Hartman in 2013 and Nick Schmaltz in 2014 have 70 career games played between the two. I believe he would much rather have a player who can help him win now, more than later.
A rumor has already been circulating about the Blackhawks kicking the tires on 500 goal scorer, Jarome Iginla of the Colorado Avalanche. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Blackhawks traded a pick this year, as their championship window gets smaller with each passing season. With 10 total picks in this year’s draft the Blackhawks will still receive a fair share of applause with one or two less.