The NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and the Blackhawks did little to improve their chances at making a deep playoff run this year. Their only moves were the acquisition of defenseman Johnny Oduya from Winnipeg, and the departure of enforcer John Scott to the Rangers. That’s it. Many, myself included, thought that the Hawks might trade for a top 4 defenseman and a top 6 forward. Unfortunately, neither of which happened.
Oduya is a number 5-6 defenseman and will most likely be paired with either Sean O’Donnell or Sami Lepisto, whomever is in the lineup on any given night. By trading for Oduya, Stan Bowman added a little more depth to the Blackhawks’ defense. The common belief around the NHL heading into the trade deadline was that the Hawks needed to trade for a top 4 defenseman that could kill off penalties as well as play on the powerplay. Johnny Oduya is not a top 4 defenseman, as previously mentioned, and is mediocre at killing off penalties. Odds are that we will not see him on the powerplay. If I had to guess, I would say that Johnny Oduya was not the number 1, or maybe not even the number 2 most wanted defenseman by the Hawks’ front office heading into the trade deadline. However, with the lack of available defenseman at the deadline, it is tough to get too disappointed with Stan Bowman for making this move. He had to trade for one of the few available defenseman, and he did. As for his failure at acquiring a top 6 forward, that is a different story.
While Nashville, one of the Hawks’ biggest rivals and toughest competitors, was strengthening not only their defense (trading for Hal Gill), but their offense as well (acquiring Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad), the Blackhawks sat on their hands, it would appear, and did nothing. Yes, Bowman went out and traded for Brendan Morrison last month with the hopes that he could fill the number 2 centerman roll, but that has not worked out thus far to say the least. Since joining the Hawks, Morrison has played in just 7 games and has yet to register a point. I am sure that Bowman made offers at the deadline for players such as Gaustad, Derek Roy, and Jeff Carter, but clearly his offers were not good enough. It sounds as though Stan Bowman and the rest of the Blackhawks’ front office were too reluctant to trade away any top prospects or draft picks to get a top forward. This is what aggravates me and the rest of us Blackhawk fans. If they wanted to, the Blackhawks could have traded for one of the previously mentioned forwards, which would have greatly improved their team and better prepared them for a deep playoff run. Instead, they are going to be battling it out with Phoenix, L.A., Dallas, Colorado, and possibly a couple other teams for a playoff spot.
The Blackhawks are basically the same team today as they were 48 hours ago; a team that is fresh off of a 9-game losing streak, and currently in the midst of a 3-game losing streak. This is going to be a tough and grueling next 2 months for the Hawks. Hopefully when it’s all said and done we will be watching them in the playoffs.
Thanks for reading.