Misconceptions of Stan Bowman – Part 2


In part one of this series, I examined the forwards that Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman had drafted both before he took over as GM and while on the job. The numbers showed that he was average to slightly above average at drafting and developing these players through the Blackhawks system. This is where the success stops; and a hard stop it is.

We will now take a look at the defensemen and goalies drafted during the period of 2007 through 2017.

Like with part one, I compare Stan Bowman’s relative success when drafting players, by position, to his peers in the division. The only fair and objective metric is NHL games played. It is not a perfect measure of success, but it will provide a picture of what level of player development has occurred over the last decade.

Below are the defensemen that were drafted from 2007 through 2009, with Dale Tallonofficially” at the helm, but Bowman (assistant General Manager) and Mark Kelley (Vice President of Amateur Scouting) as co-pilots:

YearRound-PosNameNHL Games (as of 2/2/18)
20075-126Joe Lavin
20083-68Shawn Lalonde1
5-132Teigan Zahn
6-162Jonathan Carlsson
6-179Braden Birch
7-192Joe Gleason
20091-28Dylan Olsen

7-195Paul Phillips

What does this list of players tell us? The Blackhawks drafted eight defensemen in three drafts. Two of those defensemen (25%) have played in the NHL, Dylan Olsen and Shawn Lalonde. We can debate the true success or talent of these players, but neither was anything to crow about. Quite frankly, I am surprised Lalonde got even one game of NHL ice time, and Dylan Olsen has been knocking around the ECHL this season.

That said, I want to be as objective as possible with this exercise. Relative to divisional rivals over the same period:

Minnesota was at 66%
Nashville was at 57%
Dallas was at 50%
St. Louis is at 63%

It does not take a math whiz to see that the Blackhawks were lagging behind the crowd, even before the first cup was won. Again, to be fair, these results are not totally Stan Bowman’s failure, but he certainly had his dirty hands deep in the mix.

Lets move on to the years that Bowman was the head honcho of the Blackhawks organization, 2010 through 2018:

DraftRound-PosPlayerNHL Games (as of 2/2/18)
20102-54Justin Holl2
2-60Stephen Johns124
6-180Nick Mattson
20112-36Adam Clendening86
3-70Michael Paliotta2
3-79Klas Dahlbeck154
6-169Sam Jardine
20122-48Dillon Fournier
5-149Travis Brown
20132-51Carl Dahlstrom
4-111Robin Norell
7-211Robin Press
20145-141Luc Snuggerud
5-148Andreas Soderberg
20153-91Dennis Gilbert
4-121Ryan Shea
6-181Joni Tuulola
20162-45Chad Krys
4-110Lucas Carlsson
6-173Blake Hillman
7-203Jake Ryczek
20171-29Henri Jokiharju
2-57Ian Mitchell
4-119Roope Laavainen
5-150Jakub Galvas
7-215Josh Ess

The proof is in the pudding and sticks out like a sore thumb. The Stan Bowman led drafting and development team drafted 26 defensemen, five of which have ever seen the NHL ice (19%). Klas Dahlbeck (154), Stephen Johns (124), Adam Clendening (86), Michael Paliotta (2) and Justin Holl (2). Holl just played his first NHL game, on January 31st after toiling in college and the minors since 2010. This is not a list of accomplished future Hockey Hall of Famers.

To put it bluntly, this list is terrible.

Relative to his divisional peers over the same period of time:

Minnesota was at 18%
Nashville was at 25%
Dallas was at 25%
St. Louis is at 33%

Once again, while Stan Bowman was better than his predecessor, but still falls short of the alleged accolades which have proclaimed him as a great drafter and player developer.

If fingers need to be pointed at the now aging defense that have just as many questions today as they did in game one of the season, you can point them at the empty pockets this team has failed to refill with defensive talent.

In full disclosure, they have been better as of late. Players like Chad Krys, Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell have shown a lot of promise. It should not have taken them eight years to figure this formula out, though. At this rate, they will have to unload one of these kids, or worse, to get out from under some of these crippling contracts that have handcuffed this team.

That, folks, is another subject for another series, though.

Just to complete the exercise, we can take a brief look at the goalies. If there is a position that is generally “hopes and prayers” when drafting young, under developed kids, goaltender would be that position.

DraftRound-PosPlayerNHL Games (as of 2/2/18)
20072-86Josh Unice
20102-58Kent Simpson1
7-191Mac Carruth
20117-211Johan Mattsson
20127-191Brandon Whitney
7-199Matt Tomkins
20146-179Ivan Nalimov
20162-83Wouter Peeters

Bowman and the Blackhawks have drafted eight goaltenders since 2007 and one has ever seem NHL ice. Some of you may remember the name Kent Simpson for his single period of play, in relief of Antti Raanta, during the 2013-14 season.

Then again, most of you may not.

Relative to his divisional peers over the same period of time:

Minnesota was at 28% overall, but 0 for 5 2010/17
Nashville was at 42% overall, but 3 for 8 2010/17
Dallas was at 22% overall, but 2 for 7 2010/17
St. Louis was at 25% overall, but 1 for 6 2010/17

In ten years, the Blackhawks have not been able to draft and develop a single goaltender of even backup quality; for any team. The list includes, not one, but two second round draft picks. This is supposed to be the “gold standard of NHL franchises” though.

I tend to think otherwise, and I feel like we have just shown you why.

About Jeff Osborn

Jeff has covered the Blackhawks since 2009 with his former website www.puckinhostile.com and podcast The Puckin Hostile Shoutcast until 2017, when he moved over to The Rink. After a short hiatus to cover the inaugural Seattle Kraken season, he came back to Blackhawks coverage and started "The Net Perspective" podcast to discuss goaltending and goaltender development.


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