It is no secret, this is not the cup winning Chicago Blackhawks team that many are accustomed to seeing. After winning 3 Stanley Cups in this decade, more and more fans are becoming extremely frustrated with how the team is currently playing.
After a disappointing year this past season, I was one of the few who thought with Corey Crawford returning, things would turn around. Yet, the question remains, why are there so many people in the organization resisting change?
Is it the fact they spent so many years being irrelevant in the NHL? Not that long ago, on November 6th, Blackhawks president and CEO John McDonough said “the team is ‘remodeling’ but believes they’ll be a playoff team”.
Forgive me for being Pessimistic, but to loosely paraphrase a character from SpongeBob Squarepants … “This is a load of Barnacles”. I think I speak for a lot of fans when I say I was skeptical about the signings in the offseason. The team signed Chris Kunitz, Brandon Manning, and Cam Ward this past offseason.
Now, if I was in Stan Bowman’s shoes, what moves would I make?
To start, I would waive Chris Kunitz and call up Aurora, Ontario native, Dylan Sikura from the Blackhawks AHL affiliate the Rockford Ice Hogs. Sikura has been an absolute beast in Rockford this season. In 21 games played, he had 6 goals and 8 assists. On the other hand, Kunitz has been rather frustrating to watch. In 20 games played with the Blackhawks, he owns 2 assists, 0 goals, a 10:45 ATOI, 3 blocks, 29 hits and 7 giveaways.
In addition, I would opt to send down John Hayden and bring up Victor Ejdsell. Hayden has been as frustrating to watch as Kunitz has been and could use some time at the AHL level.
In terms of Ejdsell, he has been excellent so far this season in the AHL. Ejdsell currently has 3 goals and 7 assists in 20 games.
The moral of the story, if you do not follow the AHL, these two guys are very special to watch. While I do realize that these two forwards are not going to make the difference for the Blackhawks, it’s a start in the right direction.
There are also a couple of defensemen in Rockford that are worth looking at too. I think Blake Hillman and Darren Raddysh would also make a difference at the NHL level. Jeremy Colliton, head coach of the Blackhawks, previously coached these players at the AHL level and has familiarity with each of their playing styles.
I would start there and see if there was any positive change. Since the Blackhawks have been struggling as of late, I have to ask…. What do you have to lose?
stats from theahl.com and hockey-reference.com