Wild West – General Manager Ratings – Chicago

Grant Campbell


In part four of fifteen in our look at GM ratings in the West, we will focus on Chicago and GM Stan Bowman who might be a little concerned with the recent firing of President John McDonough and whether the new hire might replace him. Or perhaps Bowman will have his role elevated? Chicago is in transition from the team that won three Stanley Cups between 2010 and 2015. Bowman's hiring is unique in the fact that the team was surging and young when they fired Dale Tallon so he inherited a team in the mix to win a cup instantly. And they did.


5: below average

6: average

7: above average

8: top ten

9: Exceptional

10: Perfect

Prior Ratings:

Bob Murray – Anaheim: 7.85

John Chayka – Arizona: 6.62

Brad Treliving – Calgary: 7.5

Chicago Blackhawks

GM – Stan Bowman, hired July 14th, 2009

First category, winning:

Regular season record: 469 W 285 L 58 OTL 44 SOL: 0.613 Win %

Playoffs: The aforementioned three Stanley Cups. Have not made the playoffs since 2016-2017.

Best result: Stanley Cups in 2009-10, 2012-13 and 2014-15.

Bowman took over a team that was coming off of a 104-point regular season and a 3rd round loss in 2008-09. The team already had Joel Quenneville as coach and young core players in Patrick Kane (19), Jonathan Toews (20), Kris Versteeg (22), Andrew Ladd (22), Patrick Sharp (26), Duncan Keith (25), Dustin Byfuglien (23), Brent Seabrook (23), Niklas Hjalmarsson (23) and Corey Crawford (23). They were setup to win then and for years to come. It can be argued back and forth about Bowman's role in all this, but the bottom line is winning and he has delivered.

Winning rating: 8.8 (declining from last three seasons, otherwise over nine)


85 players drafted over ten seasons beginning with the 2010 draft and he was able to keep ten 1st round picks on those ten years. With the success of the team they have only drafted above 18th overall in two seasons, with the 8th overall pick in 2018 (Adam Boqvist) and the 3rd overall pick in 2019 (Kirby Dach) with only four of those as 1st round picks.

With team success, usually come slim pickings in the draft, but Chicago has been able to draft Brandon Saad in the 2nd round 43rd overall and Andrew Shaw in the 5th round 139th overall in 2011, Teuvo Teravainen at 18th overall in 2012, Nick Schmaltz at 20th overall in 2014 and Alex Debrincat at 39th overall in the 2nd round in 2016.

The only struggles at the draft table were in 2014 and 2015, when they missed pretty much completely in 2015 and only have Nick Schmaltz to show for in 2014.

The success or failure of Boqvist or Dach will go a long way to changing this score for Bowman. Other prospects having potential high ceilings are Evan Barratt at forward and Nicolas Beaudin and Ian Mitchell on defense.

Drafting score: 7.1


The Salary Cap has played havoc with the Blackhawks since Bowman was hired and was more to do with Dale Tallon putting Bowman in the spot he found himself, but not all.

Trades made: 105

Significant trades:

September 5th, 2009 – sent 2nd round pick 32nd overall in 2010 (Jared Knight) for 2nd round pick 43rd overall in 2011 (Brandon Saad) and a 3rd round pick 70th overall in 2011 (Michael Paliotta) – Another lesson in adding picks to move down. Drafted Brandon Saad, who the team would trade, then re-acquire below.

February 12th, 2010 – sent Cam Barker for Nick Leddy and Kim Johnsson – got very good value in Leddy for Barker, who it became evident that the Hawks were masking his weaknesses. Minnesota bought out Barker June 30th, 2011.

June 23rd, 2010 – sent Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Brent Sopel and Akim Aliu for Joey Crabb, Jeremy Morin, Marty Reasoner, a 1st round pick 24th overall in 2010 (Kevin Hayes) and a 2nd round pick 54th overall in 2010 (Justin Holl) – This deal looks bad on paper, very soon after the first Stanley Cup victory but Bowman was trying to sell high. I'm not sure Byfuglien would have become the player he became had he stayed.

June 25th, 2010 – sent a 1st round 30th overall pick in 2010 (Brock Nelson) for a 2nd round 35th overall pick in 2010 (Ludvig Rensfeldt) and a 2nd round 58th overall pick in 2010 (Kent Simpson) – a lesson the other way in sending a higher pick for two lower picks. Brock Nelson would have been a great add to the roster (not that it works that way).

June 30th, 2010 – sent Kris Versteeg and Bill Sweatt for Philippe Paradis, Viktor Stalberg and Chris DiDomenico – Another cost-saving move, trading Versteeg for Stalberg and a good prospect in Paradis. These were the type of moves that didn't hurt Chicago significantly, but gave them serviceable players like Stalberg at close to the league minimum for two or three seasons.

July 1st, 2010 – sent Andrew Ladd for Ivan Vishnevskiy and a 2nd round 36th overall pick (Adam Clendening) – salary related deal again, but not good value at all for Ladd who had five very good seasons in Atlanta/Winnipeg.

February 9th, 2011 – sent Jack Skille, Hugh Jessiman (aka huge specimen) and David Pacan for Micheal Frolik and Alexander Salak – Although Frolik didn't have his most productive years in Chicago, he was a large contributor in their Stanley Cup win in 2013.

June 24th, 2011 – sent Troy Brouwer for a 1st round 26th overall pick in 2011 (Phillip Danault) – It is scary to think what Chicago could have done with all of regular players from their lineup that they were forced to deal.

February 27th, 2012 – sent a 2nd round 61st overall pick in 2013 (Zach Sanford) and a 3rd round pick 91st overall in 2013 (JC Lipon) for Johnny Oduya – Not a huge price to pay for a stalwart on defense who ended up with two Stanley Cups in three and a half seasons with Chicago.

June 30th, 2013 – sent Dave Bolland for a 2nd round 51st overall pick in 2013 (Carl Dahlstrom), a 4th round pick 98th overall in 2014 (Fredrik Olofsson) and a 4th round pick 117th overall in 2013 (Freddrik Bergvik). – Not only did they get good value for Bolland, but they saved $3.375 million in cap space. This is rebuilding while at your peak.

February 6th, 2014 – sent 4th round pick 118th overall in 2014 (Igor Shesterkin) for Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard – Only noteworthy as Chicago added some insurance but most notably they probably wish they had who ended up being the pick, in net currently.

March 4th, 2014 – sent a 2nd round 58th overall pick in 2014 (Christian Dvorak) for David Rundblad and Mathieu Brisebois – Chicago was trying to add some much needed depth on their backend for another playoff run, but the prices were getting a little steeper.

June 27th, 2014 – sent a 1st round 27th overall pick in 2014 (Nikolay Goldobin) and a 3rd round 62nd pick in 2014 (Justin Kirkland) for a 1st round 20th overall pick in 2014 (Nick Schmaltz) and a 6th round 179th overall pick in 2014 (Ivan Nalimov) – To move up seven spots in the first round only cost them a 3rd round pick and the proof is in the pudding as Schmaltz has proven he is a top six forward when healthy (albeit with Arizona).

October 4th, 2014 – sent Nick Leddy for T.J.Brennan, Ville Pokka, Kent Simpson and Anders Nilsson – Not dealt by choice I'm sure, but the return is surprisingly low in hindsight as Brennan's game never translated to the NHL and Pokka played three pretty good seasons in the AHL, before heading back to the KHL where he currently plays. The team couldn't sign Anders Nilsson and lost him to the KHL, while Simpson had one cup of coffee in the NHL and sports a career save percentage of 0.714.

February 27th, 2015 – sent a 2nd round 61st overall pick in 2015 (Jeremy Bracco) and a 2nd round 52nd overall pick in 2016 (Wade Allison) for Kimmo Timonen – Hard to believe the price they paid for a 39-year old insurance policy that never put up a point in Chicago in 34 games including playoffs. It's all good when you win the cup.

February 28th, 2015 – sent a 1st round 30th overall pick in 2015 (Nick Merkley) and Klas Dahlbeck for Antoine Vermette – Even though the Blackhawks one this year, these type of high asset purges would begin to hurt them in the coming years. From Arizona's standpoint, what a perfect trade, as Vermette signed and returned there the next season.

 June 30th, 2015 – sent Alex Broadhurst, Brandon Saad and Michael Paliotta for Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin, Corey Tropp and a 4th round 95th overall pick in 2016 (Anatoly Golyshev) – To save just over $1.7 million in cap space, they dealt Saad for a regular but downgrade in Anisimov, a very good prospect in Dano and a good prospect in Morin. Of course this wouldn't be the end of Saad in Chicago.

February 25th, 2016 – sent Marko Dano, a 1st round 22nd overall pick in 2016 (German Rubtsov) for Jay Harrison, Andrew Ladd and Matt Fraser. Essentially a very expensive rental of impending UFA Ladd to see if he could rekindle the magic of 2010. He could not.

February 26th, 2016 – sent Phillip Danault and a 2nd round 38th overall pick in 2018 (Alexander Romanov) for Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann. – There is nothing good I can say about this trade other from Montreal's standpoint.

June 15th, 2016 – sent Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen for a 2nd round 50th overall pick in 2016 (Artur Kayumov) and a 3rd round 88th overall pick in 2017 (Keith Petruzzelli). – Another salary dump to save $4 million that cost them Teravainen. It's probably around this time that the team should have been thinking about transitioning from the existing core, but the contracts extended prevented it.

June 24th, 2016 – sent Andrew Shaw for a 2nd round 39th overall pick in 2016 (Alex Debrincat) and a 2nd round 45th overall pick in 2016 (Chad Krys) – With Debrincat becoming a pick this turns into a very good trade.

June 23rd, 2017 – sent Artemi Panarin, Tyler Motte and a 6th round 170th overall pick in 2017 (Jonathan Davidsson) for Brandon Saad, Anton Forsberg and a 5th round 142nd overall pick in 2018 (Michael Callahan) – Saddled with the knowledge that they would only have Panarin for two more seasons and be unable to re-sign him, they got back Saad and a backup goalie in Forsberg. I could understand if Chicago got back a blue-chip prospect or a high pick, but Panarin was and always will be the best player in this deal by far.

July 12th, 2018 – sent Jordan Oesterle, Marian Hossa, Vinnie Hinostroza and a 3rd round 74th overall pick in 2019 (Nathan Legare) for Andrew Campbell, Marcus Kruger, Jordan Maletta, Mackenzie Entwistle and a 5th round 138th overall pick in 2019 (Frederik Nissen Dichow). – Chicago saved over $4.3 million in cap space and got roster player Marcus Kruger for essentially Oesterle and Hinostroza. Kruger is out of the league and both Oesterle and Hinostroza are regulars.

November 25th, 2018 – sent Nick Schmaltz for Brendan Perlini and Dylan Strome. – It is too soon to tell if Strome or Schmaltz will be the better player, or if both teams will win with this deal.

February 18th, 2019 – sent a 5th round 138th overall pick in 2019 (Dichow) for Dominik Kubalik. – Any time you can add a 30-goal scoring 24-year old rookie to your lineup for a 5th round pick has to be a win.

July 9th, 2019 – sent Henri Jokiharju for Alexander Nylander. – Nylander had a lot of detractors before being dealt, but has shown some signs in Chicago that he might be on track for an NHL career after all.

February 24th, 2020 – sent Erik Gustafsson for a 3rd round pick 77th overall in 2020. It is hard to believe that a defenseman that had 60 points last season would only fetch a 3rd round pick, but this might speak to the holes in his game that were masked by his point outburst.

Trade score: 7.1


Bowman has made 221 signings and is close to the billion dollar club with over $974 million in deal values.

It appears that Chicago ownership is loath to buying out contracts and have only done so three times, with Curtis Brown, Steve Montador and Rostislav Olesz. Only one (Montador) was a signing of Bowman.

With Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews both signed for eight year $10.5 million AAV deals beginning in 2015-16, it put over 30 percent of the Blackhawks cap space on two cornerstone players. Both a curse and a relief, has put pressure on the franchise each season to get under the cap, resulting in jettisoning good players for pennies on the dollar over the years. Coupled with contracts to Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Brandon Saad and Corey Crawford taking up an additional 35 percent of space hasn't left the team much room to fill the roster with skill. That is fine, when all the players are at the top of their games, but when play falls off, you get what has happened for the past three seasons. No playoffs.

It's tough to argue with the success to 2015 and the catch 22 Bowman was in, but the old adage "What have you done for us lately?" springs to mind.

Signings score: 7.4 (trending down)

Overall score 7.6 (trending down)

Stan Bowman proved he knew how to win and then adjust the roster to keep on winning over five seasons, but he was also blessed with an incredible supporting cast in order to accomplish that feat. What is coming into question for the last few seasons, is if he has the ability to re-build the roster? Hindsight is easy to point out that his biggest mistakes have been extending Seabrook for eight years and continuing with a very top heavy lineup of veterans. You can see the same blind loyalty in Anaheim as well, and it begs the question, when does a GM blow up a roster that has had prior success? I don't think you can do that with Kane or Toews until they ask you to.

As always, thanks very much for reading and if you have any comments or suggestion please let me know below.


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