The last time Stan Bowman came out to open his mouth and find out with the rest of us what would come out of it, and a continuing theme the Hawks have hid behind, is that the price for “going for it” every season there for a bit cost them their future. Which is what we’re living with now. And it seems reasonable, but I thought I’d go a little more into it than just taking it by word.
I’m going to start with 2015, even though that season ended with a Cup and no one’s complaining at least about Antoine Vermette. Before that was six years ago, and even picks the Hawks gave up then would be veterans now that the Hawks likely wouldn’t be able to afford anyway. This is also going to assume that the Hawks would have nailed even any of these picks, much less all of them. But we will see who might have ended up as a Hawk if they still were making those pick. So let’s review:
Antoine Vermette – Acquired for Klas Dahlbeck and 1st round pick (30th)
Coyotes drafted: Nick Merkley
Players that followed immediately: Christian Fischer, Travis Dermott, Sebastien Aho, Brandon Carlo
Clearly, Merkley never became anything. And again, the Hawks won the Cup that year, so this is what you sacrifice. But clearly, any of the four taken directly after Merkley would have been a huge help to the Hawks going forward. Even Dermott would have been the best defensive prospect they’ve produced other than Boqvist. Aho…d’oh.
Kimmo Timonen – Acquired for 2015 2nd round pick (61st) and 2016 2nd round pick (52nd)
Maple Leafs drafted (2015): Jeremy Bracco
Players that followed immediately: Kyle Copabianco
Flyers Drafted (2016): Wade Allison
Players that followed immediately: Filip Hronek, Dillon Dube
Not as damaging as what came before. In 2016, Hronke would have definitely made this Hawks roster and showed some promise, while Dube probably could have been a useful bottom-sixer. Or he would have gotten the Dylan Sikura treatment for no reason other than the Hawks didn’t see him fight the one night they were scouting Rockford. Who knows?
Andrew Ladd – Acquired for Marko Dano, 1st rounder in 2016 and conditional pick in 2018
Pick later traded to Flyers, drafted: German Rubstov
Players that followed immediately: Henrik Borgstrom, Max Jones, Tage Thompson, Brett Howden
Didn’t miss out on much here, but Howden would have been nice.
Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann – Acquired for Phillip Danault and 2018 2nd round pick
Canadiens Drafted: Alex Romanov
Player that immediately followed: No one
So Bowman can bemoan going all in all the time cost them the future, but this trade is more than that. It’s just bad. Fleischmann and Weise weren’t as valuable as Danault was that season, let alone what would come after. And deep down, we knew that at the time. This was splurging for the sake of splurging. And from the draft that they gave up a pick from, they didn’t really miss anything, although Howden’s future looks promising, except he hasn’t done much in the NHL yet. So he wouldn’t really be pulling the Hawks out of their current spot, just promising a better future than they have now.
Johnny Oduya – Acquired for Mark McNeill and 2018 4th round pick
Dallas Drafted: Adam Mascherin
Players that immediately followed: No one
The Hawks didn’t really go all in at this deadline, as they were in first and felt pretty good about themselves, even if it felt like it was all on stilts at the time. McNeill never went on to be anything, and there’s no one from the fourth round of the 2018 draft who has mattered yet.
So looking back on all this, on the surface it seems like the Hawks sacrificed a lot to win in ’15 and try again the next two years. But the only cost really was that 1st round pick for Vermette. Now, maybe the Hawks would have taken Sebastien Aho, and things would look awfully different right now. Even Brandon Carlo would have changed the trajectory a bit. But how much?
At this point, this is deflection from the front office. The Danault trade was just bad. That wasn’t a sacrifice, that was idiocy. Extending Anisimov immediately to try and justify giving up a fan favorite in Brandon Saad for him wasn’t a sacrifice, it was idiocy (coming from on high). That cost you Teuvo Teravainen.
And the players Stan did draft, as the Hawks haven’t been bereft of picks, have been hit and miss. They’re not exceptionally good at it, but they’re not bad at it either. Still, on this current team, only Boqvist, Dach, and Debrincat look like Hawks draft picks that will make a difference for the Hawks. That’s just not good enough. That’s not about sacrifice, at least not entirely.
Again, this is Stan hiding while trying to justify his continued employment. And it looks thinner and thinner every day.