Blackhawks’ Bowman shaking the tree. What about the roster?

By Randy Holndoner (@bhawkschatter)

Chicago Blackhawks General Manager, Stan Bowman stated things were going to change, after their embarrassing 4-game sweep dismissal from the playoffs at the hands of the Nashville Predators.

It started by firing Assistant Coach, Mike Kitchen yesterday.  Kitchen had been with the Blackhawks since the 2010-11 season and was part of the ’13 an ’15 championship teams.  Honestly, it makes sense since the Hawks’ penalty kill has been horrible the last two seasons, including one of the most brutal starts in NHL history this past season where they gave up 14 goals in the first 26 attempts.

Head Coach, Joel Quenneville was not happy with the dismissal of Kitchen.  Kitchen was Quenneville’s assistant while Q was the head coach of the St. Louis Blues back in 1998-99.  That lasted 6 years until Kitchen came to the Blackhawks after the 2010 season.

Next, Bowman went further into the Blackhawks system and relieved Rockford Icehogs Head Coach Ted Dent from his duties today.  Dent, had been part of the Blackhawks minor league system dating back to the 2006-07 season when he was an Assistant Coach with the then AHL affiliate, Norfolk Admirals.  Dent and the Icehogs had a horrible year (25-39-12) and missed the playoffs for the fist time in six years under Dent’s reign.

That is fine that Bowman has shaken the tree, but he needs to shake the roster.  He said to not be surprised if some of the core players are not here next year.  The problem with this?  Any player with a substantial cap hit, (Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook, Hossa, Crawford) have No Move Clauses (NMC)s in their contracts.  This means that if Bowman was to trade one of these highly priced players, they would have to agree to waive their no trade clause to make it happen.

The most logical candidate to leave if he agrees to waive his NMC, would be Brent Seabrook.  His cap hit is $6.875mil for the next seven seasons.  He scored just 3 goals, the lowest in his 12 year career.  This coming a year after his contract year in which he scored a career high 14 goals.  Can Bowman swing a deal for a 5th/6th, young, D-man, and possibly a 2nd rd pick?  Who knows, but one thing was blatantly obvious in these playoffs.  The Blackhawks defense is slow, and getting older.  Seabrook, unless he was injured, was not moving well.

They gave up 31.4 shots per game this season.  The last time they gave up that many shots?  1988-89 season.

Bowman is now being tested hard for the first time since the break-up of the 2010 Stanley Cup team.  What he does here will be looked at a lot more closely this time around.  Two exits in the first round of the playoffs, when you are expected to go deep, will do that to a person.  The motto is ‘One Goal’, not ‘One Series’.  Let’s see what magic Bowman has left in his wand to turns this team around.


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