Hopefully we'll be seeing much more of this
The Blackhawks dropped a bombshell last night, just 30 minutes before game time. Stan Bowman had traded the unspectacular Marko Dano, this year's 1st round pick, and a conditional pick to the Winnipeg Jets for former Blackhawk Left Wing Andrew Ladd, Jay Harrison and Matt Fraser. The Jets also retained 36% of Ladd's salary, to boot.
A vast majority of the the intarwebz fans were completely stoked, as was I. I loved Andrew Ladd, and was seriously bummed when he was traded in the summer of 2010. It stung me. He was a perfect depth guy, still young, physical, and experienced. This was just proven to be true when the Thrashers/Jets made him their captain. Bringing in the current captain of any NHL team for a playoff run is a pretty big deal. Bringing one in who knows the organization, and has fit with them before is that much more important. I love this deal for a multitude of reasons. The first of which is that the Blackhawks only gave up a player that was struggling mightily in this organization, and a draft pick they would have most likely blown somehow, anyway.
Lets be honest, here, the recent crop of Blackhawks first rounders aren't exactly lighting the league on fire with their production. The one who is providing the most NHL production, Kevin Hayes, walked away from the organization for a compensation pick. The second most productive player, Teuvo Teravainen, has the meatball coalition trying to ship him out of town because he's not a top scorer playing on a third line with two other defensive players; at 21 years old mind you.
Since 2008 the Blackhawks have selected Kyle Beach, Dylan Olsen, Kevin Hayes, Mark NcNeill, Phillip Danault, Teuvo Teravainen, Ryan Hartman, and Nick Schmaltz. Forgive me if I'm not gutted by losing another chance at the next Kyle Beach or Dylan Olsen. The rest are depth players that have all been overshadowed by one specific free agent signing that was plugged right in and has produced without years of teeth gnashing and beging, Artemi Panarin. It's pretty clear that the Hawks don't need to rely on 1st round picks to flourish, nor should they. They have very little patience, and by the time these players are NHL ready at all, they have moved on to other players.
Look at it this way, the highest pick they have had, since 08, was at #11, and they snagged Blackhawks / Rockford legend Kyle Beach (and ultimately The Manshitter). The next highest picks were Mark McNeill, at 18 in 2011, and Teuvo Tervainen at 18 in 2012. Teravainen should have been long gone by the time the Hawks picked, and fell in their lap. Schmaltz looks like he may develop into a solid player, but the Quenneville effect could easily turn him into the next Marko Dano if he doesn't make a positive impression right away. I'm sorry, folks, I'm not trading what might be the last serious run Stanley Cup we see in Chicago for a while, for the next Nick Schmaltz. Stan Bowman could find some kid in the KHL that gives you what some unspectacular late first rounder probably will, and probably faster. This all makes that first round pick, in regards to the Blackhawks organization, a wash.
Lets dive deeper, shall we? The Blackhawks lost this year's second round pick as compensation for Kimmo Timonen last season, so they don't have a pick until round 3. You know how many Blackhawks have become productive NHL players in rounds 3-7 since 2008? SEVERAL:
Ben Smith, 6th/169 in 2008
Markus Kruger, 5th/149 in 2009
Joakim Nordstrom, 3rd/90 in 2010
Klas Dahlbeck, 3rd/79 in 2011
Andrew Shaw, 5th/139 in 2011
The Hawks also have players like Vince Hinostroza, Garrett Ross, Tyler Motte, Radovan Bondra, and Roy Radke that have been raising some interest, from the later rounds. More production than they have gotten out of the first round, that's for sure.
The moral of the story is that you should not fall in love with the romance of a 1st round draft pick, if you're a Blackhawks fan. They are virtually picking in the second round at the position they normally pick from, anyway. They can easily recoup a 2nd round pick at the draft for something like the rights to Andrew Shaw, who has probably priced himself out of the Blackhawks range, anyway. Maybe they could recoup picks for Bryan Bickell, since Toronto has hoarded about 30 picks in the July draft through various moves.
Back to Marko Dano. Does he have potential? YES! Was he over hyped, because we all wanted a young phenom to replace the one we lost? YES! He was handed a winning lottery ticket and fumbled it down the storm drain. He got a late start in camp, didn't really impress when he did come back, was very underwhelming when he was called back up, and really wasn't lighting the AHL on fire either. At best, right now, Marko Dano is a theory rather than a legend. We have all seen what Joel Quenneville does with a young player that thrives on his reputation. Marko Dano earned nothing. This is not to say that Dano won't turn into a legit NHL player in Winnipeg, but it was looking more and more like the very strict Blackhawks stlye wasn't a good fit for him. I wish him well. If the Blackhawks win the cup, or even if they don't, their chances are better TODAY of repeating in June, with Andrew Ladd over Marko Dano. That is fact.
Believe it or not, the Blackhawks acquired two other players as well. Coming to Chicago, or more specifically Rockford, are 33 year old defenseman Jay Harrison, and 25 year old Left Wing Matt Fraser.
He is not related to Colin Fraser, #Fatrick, so throw a bucket of cold water on your boner.
Harrison can play in a pinch but won't, unless there is an emergency. Both are free agents on July 1st, Harrison being a UFA and Fraser an RFA. The Jets were just unloading expiring contracts, here. Andrew Ladd, of course, will be an UFA on July 1st as well, and it's hard to imaging the Blackhawks could find enough cap room for him. If Bowman can find room, I would be thoroughly shocked. If they are having another parade in late June, WHO CARES?