Rabid Habs

In The Name of Winning

Stan Bowman

Stan Bowman is a general manager like no other. Son of world renowned head coach Scotty Bowman, his knowledge of the game has been serving the Chicago Blackhawks well since he joined their organization in 2001. Stan Bowman began his ascension as a special assistant to the General Manager, Director of hockey operations and Assistant General Manager of hockey operations and ultimately became the team’s General Manager in 2009. Named after the Stanley Cup by his parents, Scotty’s Montreal Canadiens had won it a month prior to Stan’s birth; he procured the Chicago Blackhawks two Stanley Cups, one in 2010 and the second in 2013.

Quite a feat to accomplish in the salary-cap era of the NHL, which makes the second conquest even more spectacular! You have to understand that his influence and contributions in building the team that won the Cup in 2010 would have to quickly take a backseat to his desire to not only meet the NHL imposed salary cap for the next season, but also maintain the level of excellence the Blackhawks had now achieved.

The summer of 2010, Andrew Ladd (now captain of the Winnipeg Jets), Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg, Ben Eager and Brent Sopel were all traded in order for the team to meet the salary cap. If you take a second look at the list, you have to admit they were all decent players and leaders in their own rights.

After winning the cup in 2013, Bowman traded Dave Bolland, Michael Frolik and Daniel Carcillo. All in an effort to meet the salary cap and retool in order to compete again and again.

We’re now in 2015 and the Blackhawks are once again in the mix of things and could be viewed as a contender to win Bowman’s namesake in June. The foundation of the team remains the same as in 2009 and 2013 with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp up front, and Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook on defense. Kris Versteeg was re acquired to win the Cup in 2013 and stays with the team to this day. The team had drafted leaders well, traded well and nurtured a supporting cast that has instituted a winning mentality to its fan base that is easily understandable… but what will next season bring?

The urgency to win it all for the Chicago Blackhawks is more palpable now than it ever was in the past. The uncertainty of the salary cap maximum for 2015 is making every General Manager nervous, but not all of them will have to unload the talent Stan Bowman may have to. The decline of the Canadian dollar is reaping havoc on the cap projections, and if we assume that it remains, at worst, at the same level as this year (69 millions) then the Blackhawks have a bit of work to do since they have 65.7 millions allotted to 15 players for 2015-2016.

Antoine Vermette, Andrew Desjardins, Brad Richards, Johnny Oduya , Kimmo Timonen and Michal Roszival will have to be either re-signed or replaced after the season.

Brandon Saad and Marcus Krueger will become restricted free agents, and we all know that they will receive a substantive increase in their remunerations.

While the Blackhawks may very well win the Stanley Cup this year, the work efforts of Stan Bowman may force him do the unthinkable; trade part of his core players. Kris Versteeg (4.4M in 2016) and Brent Seabrook (5.8M in 2016) will be in their last year of contract. In order to keep them, it could mean trading Patrick Sharp (5.9M until 2017) or Brian Bickell (4.0M until 2017).

Either way, someone will have to leave, and Bowman will keep retooling!