Stan Bowman proposes how Hawks' rebuild could play out originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Blackhawks longtime general manager Stan Bowman received a promotion this week, becoming the President of Hockey Operations for the team, while maintaining his GM duties. Bowman spoke with Hawks media Friday morning about his new role and the timeline for the team's rebuild to start paying dividends.
Bowman stepped on the gas with the rebuilding process around the Core Four of Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane this offseason when he made the decision to move on from two-time Stanley Cup champion goalie Corey Crawford and trade away forward Brandon Saad (also a two-time Cup winner) again.
It's hard for Bowman to pinpoint exactly how long until the young players on the Hawks mature enough to help the team contend again, but he has an idea for how it could play out.
"The way I’d answer is, we want to develop young players so they can take steps forward in the coming years," Bowman said. "We saw a glimpse of it last year with a few young players taking a step forward, (Kirby) Dach in particular, even (Adam) Boqvist, two teenagers coming into NHL becoming regular players on our team.
"As we move ahead, the way the team looks is probably going to be the biggest benchmark for how we’re doing. We need more young players to join that group. We’ll never have a full team of young faces because it’s not a realistic recipe for success. Thankfully, we have a group of accomplished veterans and big contributors for our team. They’ll be carrying the load while we incorporate young players.
"This year, we want one or two guys who didn’t’ factor [in] much last year to become household names, and the same in the coming years. That'd be the best way to measure if we’re on the right track. There’ll be unexpected things happening. We all assume what happened last year is a minimum and everyone will be better than last year. I’d love for that to be the case, but player performance can wax and wane. Not a guarantee players who had a strong season last year will build on it. That's what we expect, but things happen. That's why we need more than one or two players coming into the mix.
"If you look at our team next year, compared to the team [the] year after, we need an infusion of young talent. Once we do that over a year or two or three, we’ll have a strong foundation to support the veterans. The veterans have done a good job of maintaining their level. They don’t necessarily expand their game, but they maintain it. And if they can expand it, that’s a bonus. So as far as [the] progression of our team, that’s how I see it going."
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