As the dust settles on a fairly eventful day yesterday, let’s unpack what Stan Bowman did at this deadline, some of the back story, as well as what it all means going forward for a franchise in transition:
A 2018 5th round pick
2018 1st round pick (Nashville)
2018 3rd round pick (the higher of Washington’s 2 picks)
2018 4th round pick (Nashville)
2019 5th round pick (conditionally moves up to a 4th if Wingels re-signs with Boston or if Boston wins one playoff series)
C Viktor Ejdsell (HV 71 Sweden)
*- Wingels will likely re-sign in Chicago this summer
Trades are always hard to absorb at first, especially when you look at your current roster and the pieces don’t seem to fit. But there can be zero doubt, Stan Bowman’s eyes are now firmly on the 2018-19 season and beyond.
The big loss for Chicago is Hartman: a versatile lower line winger who can play all three forward positions, is physical and has some skill, plays an agitating style.
i would urge anyone who has not read our post of two days ago regarding the dilemma the Hawks were in regarding whether to keep or deal Hartman, I would suggest you do so now, here:
In the end, Bowman had to move Hartman. Just after the deal yesterday, i heard from a team source that Hartman “wanted out.” Some may dispute that. But I think anyone who’s ever had a contentious relationship with a boss knows it can reach a point where at least some days, you’d really rather be somewhere else. The Hartman-Quenneville issues had reached a low point, likely, with Hartman being benched early in Saturday’s game in Columbus. The writing was on the wall, for all concerned—including any team interested in acquiring Hartman.
This trade deadline, as so many are, was a seller’s market. But when a GM’s hand is forced on a player, it can undercut return. Bowman pulled the trigger on a deal to a bitter division foe—I heard, again, just after the deal yesterday—because Nashville, unlike other late suitors Winnipeg and Arizona, was willing to include a first round pick in the offer.
This will surely be a late first round pick, where the prospect of grabbing a surefire NHL player, much less impact player, is far from guaranteed. But this is a deep draft. And the pick gives Bowman a chip he can package with the Hawks’ much higher pick to possibly move up and pluck a true impact player in this draft. Bowman now also has extra mid round picks to work with as well.
The other key to this deal is Ejdsell, a fairly prolific scorer in the Allsvenskan, Sweden’s #2 league, last season, and a player the Hawks pursued last summer, before he signed with the Preds. You can go look at his “youtubes” and see a guy making a lot of nice plays on wide open European ice, which doesn’t always translate to the smaller, highly contested ice of North American pro hockey. But—a nice quick shot, good hands around the net, decent speed and size are evident.
The Hawks need another productive NHL center. But we don’t know enough about Ejdsell this morning to say he can be that. How is he on faceoffs. I heard/read two widely varying reports yesterday. How will he adapt to the tighter checking of North America? The-Rink.com’s Martin Thörnqvist, who lives in Sweden and watches a lot of hockey there, told me late yesterday he believes Ejdsell will end up at wing in the NHL.
Overall it was a good deal for Bowman, how good pretty much rests on what he does with Nashville’s first rounder and what Ejdsell becomes.
The next big day for the Hawk franchise, possibly a huge day, will be the NHL draft lottery. At the top of this draft are a handful of potentially elite players, followed by anther handful of potentially very good NHL players. The Hawks presently look like a good bet to pick somewhere between 7th and 9th. But in the lottery, they could pick as high as first—if they get very lucky.
Personally, I think Hawk fans can celebrate if Bowman gets into the top 5—either through the lottery or a trade up. You want to get an impact player in this draft to help build the next ten years of this franchise—preferably a defenseman—along with the Debrincats and Schmaltzes.
All for now, please comment below.