Those who bet on NHL playoffs remember the thrilling series between the Chicago Blackhawks and the St. Louis Blues. The way the Blackhawks dragged the series to 7 games after an early 1-3 disadvantage was unforgettable. So many sportsbooks users were banking on the then reigning Stanley Cup champions to take it all the way. But led by former Blackhawk Troy Brouwer (Brower was with the Blackhawks when they won the Stanley Cup back in 2010) the Blues were able to win the drawn-out series. However Chicago’s ferocity in the face of adversity shows the potential for a Stanley Cup run this season. In their attempt to improve their odds the blackbirds have been taking a rather an unorthodox approach.
While most franchises try to patch teams together by snagging talent during free agency, the Hawks prefer to value their prospect players. Instead of throwing money at flashy free agents, Chicago would rather invest both their time and capital into their own home-built talent. The B-Hawks are looking to accomplish this with a combination of younger players stepping to the plate and their ability to pull young talent from the minors.
“You need some growth from within, so you must have younger players taking the next step. That could mean a couple different things.” Stan Bowman, the Hawks general manager, was quoted as saying after Chicago’s postseason loss. “For guys not here – players in Rockford – the next step is making the NHL. For guys here, that have had a year or two under their belts, you’re looking for them to move themselves up the ladder.”
The Blackhawks are also riding on their ability to draft talent young talent and convert it into success. This offseason has seen Chicago trade the likes of Teuvo Teravainen, Bryan Bickell, and Andrew Shaw in exchange for a few draft picks. While the blackbirds might have a hard time selling both fans and people who bet on NHL futures, their track record shows promise. After all, the Blackhawks have taken home the Stanley Cup three out of the last seven years. While some critics might be quick to point out that most of those players aren’t on the team anymore, you still have to give credit to the organization. Chicago wrapped up their offseason activities by signing both Brian Campbell and Jordin Tootoo to one-year discount deals, in a move that reflects their commitment to their young prospects.
The Blackhawks are playing a risky game heading into next season. There are 6 players on the Hawks roster with less than a dozen games at the NHL level. On top of that Chicago is looking dangerously thin upfront after losing Andrew Ladd, Dale Weise, and Tomas Fleischmann. However, it had been 49 years since the Hawks won the title before Bowman stepped in. In his short time at the helm he’s been able to establish a winning reputation within the league, a reputation that has earned the Blackhawks the 3rd spot as favorites for Stanley Cup futures.
The Blackhawks will be taking to the ice in less than 100 days facing-off against the team that sent them home the previous year, the St. Louis Blues. Those who bet on NHL games should tune in from day 1.