The Chicago Blackhawks are entering an unexpected rebuild and the focus of the team has turned to off the ice. While the team on the ice surprised some people late last season, the Hawks management team decided they needed to hit reset.
The team traded forward Brandon Saad and let goaltender Corey Crawford walk without replacing him with a veteran, and now the team sits with the goalie tandem of Malcom Subban and Collin Delia. The two youngsters have shy of 100 NHL games combined, meanwhile Crawford’s next game is his 489th.
Experience isn’t everything but the core four of Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Kane and Toews want to see the team succeed and the biggest question mark is how committed the management team is to win. It’s only a matter of time before the core changes for the Hawks as Kirby Dach, Dominik Kubalik and Alex DeBrincat lead their next wave of talent.
If the Blackhawks struggle next season, the noise is going to blow louder in the Windy City and the spotlight will turn to the future of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
So, Who Gets Traded First?
Patrick Kane is likely to be dealt first, even though both players have three years left on their contracts paying them $10.5 million and no-move clauses. Toews is the captain, and is a year older, and Kane would fetch more on the trade market. There’s certainly a small chance they get dealt the same year, talk about a disaster scenario for Blackhawk fans.
Their contracts won’t make it easy on Chicago, and the team may have to take back someone expensive for at least a year in any deal. The New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres will be at the top of Kane’s wish list, meanwhile for Toews look for Colorado and Winnipeg to enter a bidding war if he becomes available.
So, when do the faces of the franchise change for the Chicago Blackhawks? Chances are it happens sooner than later.