The Chicago Blackhawks might be looking to follow in the footsteps of the Chicago Bears and Bulls when the 2017 NHL Draft gets underway at the United Center Friday.
The Blackhawks aren’t tearing anything down like the mercurial Bears and directionless Bulls, but they’re apparently looking to make a splash in front of the home fans. The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc reports the Blackhawks are looking to trade up during Friday night’s first round in an effort to energize the crowd and enrich their prospect pool.
The Hawks currently hold the 26th pick in the draft and Kuc suggests they won’t be patient enough to wait until they are officially on the clock. The Hawks have plenty of ammunition to stage a move, as they have plenty of veterans they could dump as well as nine other draft picks to deal.
While the Blackhawks deserve the benefit of the doubt from a scouting and development standpoint, the notion that they could make a move up in an effort to pander to the crowd is a bit concerning. Yes, this is the first time Chicago is hosting the draft. Yes, the crowd will be seeking some good news after the Bulls practically wet the bed in the NBA Draft Thursday night. Yes, the Blackhawks could afford a top-tier youngster to crack the Stanley Cup window open a bit more.
But the Blackhawks should only make a move if the price is right. Forcing a move is exactly what the Bulls did in trading Jimmy Butler for a budding star who tore his ACL, a young point guard who stunk during his rookie season and a draft pick nobody seems sold on. It’s exactly what Bears GM Ryan Pace did when he moved up one spot to draft Mitchell Trubisky No. 2 overall.
The Blackhawks have risen to prominence because they’ve avoided those silly, knee-jerk decisions. Stan Bowman’s calculated approach to the draft has been his saving grace after handing out some ludicrous contracts that have the Hawks where they are now.
Making a move would be embraced given what’s happened to the other sports teams in the city this year. But the Blackhawks shouldn’t fall into the same trap that has riddled the organizations they share the city with.