NHL: Dallas Stars at Chicago Blackhawks

How Summer Of Saad And Sharp Altered Hawks View

We awoke today, if you’re a tomato can like me who wakes up late during the summer because you don’t have anywhere to be, to the news that once again that the Hawks are doing everything they can to flog Bryan Bickell off their cap. But it might cost them Teuvo Teravainen in the process. Those who do not learn from history…

There is obviously shock value here. It’s no secret how we feel about Teuvo, despite the organization’s (intentional or not) bad-mouthing of him and/or misuse at given times. Teuvo is yet another piece who could have backed up the “core” when their age and mileage (or stomach, in some cases) starts to show (which isn’t far off).

However, look a little deeper and you can see what Stan sees on the horizon. There’s an expansion draft coming, and the Hawks have so many NMCs that they are forced to protect that they simply might not be able to keep Teuvo. I’d have to guess he’d be one of the more attractive assets on offer for Vegas if it comes to that. Perhaps Stan is once again realizing he might do what he can to get anything instead of losing yet another asset for nothing.

As we’ve debated over the years, we really have no idea how much of the show Stan gets to run. I’m fairly sure he is way, way far from autonomous, and I’m fairly positive if he went to the mat and told McD, “Q or me,” he’d get laughed right out of the building. So I don’t know what to apportion to Stan and what not to. I have it on fairly good authority the Bickell contract, the biggest millstone around his neck for four seasons now, was not his decision. So you see the problems.

If you squint though, after the 2015 parade, I can see where Stan thought he had a plan to extend this window as much as possible. We are fairly sure the Hawks never thought Saad would ask for $6 million a year (and get it). Or that his agent would really play a game of chicken, or however that panned out. I’m sure Stan thought, if he had his way, that he would have Saad, and Tevuo, and Johns on the blue line ready to step in when the headliners began to fade just a bit. Things would of course have to break right and that’s never a guarantee, but at least things would be in position.

But then Saad had to be dealt, Dano didn’t pan out, and Stan completely bungled the Sharp trade. He literally got nothing back for a three-time Cup winner coming off another 20+ goal season and his best defensive prospect. That’s another factor that has closed this window. He tried to throw spackle and whatever else to the wall with TVR and Gustafsson and Svedberg and now Kempny. We’ll see if any of it works.

Without Saad, without Johns, I wonder if Stan isn’t shifting focus knows the Hawks might only have a year or two left as contenders. That could be where the Brian Campbell talk is coming. And if that were the case, the Hawks would have been among the contenders for 10 years. You have to say that’s quite an accomplishment in a league specifically designed to prevent that.

What the Hawks can’t do is get nothing for Teuvo like they did Sharp and Johns. If they can get anything of use, and sign Campbell… well I don’t know how good that team is but it’s better than whatever that was last year. It’s probably one you’d be happy to roll the dice with come the playoffs.

And then that might be it. In two years the entire core aside from Kruger and Panarin (if he’s even here) would be over 30. Keith would be pushing 35 and the dominance would certainly start to wane. Lord knows what Seabrook would look like. Would all the blocked shots catch up to Hammer? D-men like him do not tend to age all that well.

So yeah, heading into the 2018-2019 season, the Hawks just might become the Phillies, because the organization would force them to hang on to everyone responsible for those banners no matter how destructive it might be. But when you win three in six, perhaps those wounds don’t seem so bad. Maybe Stan knows the clock is ticking awfully loudly now, and he can go all in on the next season or two and then probably high-tail it out of here and leave the mess for someone else.

I think he saw a way it could go another five years, but that’s gone now. Maybe now it’s just best to salvage the next one or two and call it a day.

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