by Anthony Yench
A lot of people expected big changes from the Blackhawks this offseason. So far, they’ve been busy, as expected, but some General Manager Stan Bowman’s decisions have left some fans questioning the direction of the team. Here are some of the big talking points so far:
The 2020 Entry Draft
In the first round of this year’s Entry Draft, the Blackhawks selected left winger Lukas Reichel at #17. Even though the 18-year-old German native is considered a top prospect, it’s very unlikely that he’ll play in the upcoming season. Another notable player the Hawks drafted was goalie Drew Commesso in the second round.
Stan Bowman is well known for trading away big players, like Artemi Panarin in 2017. It looks like the 2020 offseason will be no different. Yesterday, he traded Brandon Saad and Dennis Gilbert to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for defensemen Nikita Zadorov and Anton Lindholm. Most fans are split on this decision, but the trade opens some salary cap to re-sign Dylan Strome to a new a deal, and it adds some solid defenders to the roster.
Easily the biggest talking point so far is the team’s decision to not re-sign veteran goalie Corey Crawford. After minimal contract discussions, it was announced on Thursday that the team would not be re-signing him. Crawford has played his entire 17-year career with the Hawks, helping them to two Stanley Cups. Crawford just signed a two-year deal with the New Jersey Devils where he’ll start a new chapter of his career. The Hawks must now determine their starting goalie next season, and so far, the options are Malcolm Subban, Collin Delia, Kevin Lankinen, and maybe even Drew Commesso will get a shot to fill Crawford’s place.