The months leading up to the 2015-16 season saw the Chicago Blackhawks shuffle several players. In terms of prospects, the Blackhawks sent out Stephen Johns, Michael Paliotta, Alex Broadhurst, and Joakim Nordstrom in a variety of trades. Futhermore, Matt Carey, Drew LeBlanc, and Mac Carruth were not extended qualifying offers with the team, though Carruth signed an AHL deal with the Blackhawks’ minor league affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs. Defenseman Sam Jardine signed a contract with the IceHogs as well, hoping he can use this opportunity to earn an NHL-contract with Chicago in the foreseeable future.
The 2015-16 season is one of uncertainty for the Chicago Blackhawks. The harsh realities of the salary-cap era were quite evident during the offseason. Brandon Saad (CBJ), Patrick Sharp (DAL), Antti Raanta (NYR), Stephen Johns (DAL), Michael Paliotta (CBJ) and Alex Broadhurst (CBJ) were all parts of trades meant to add flexibility as well as talent to the organization. Furthermore, the likes of Brad Richards, Johnny Oduya and Antoine Vermette have found new teams through the free agency market. In other words, this year’s Blackhawks squad will look different than the 2015 Stanley Cup Champions we saw in June.
After the Blackhawks defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 on June 15th, the great debate began again as to whether or not Chicago is considered a modern-day dynasty in the NHL. Winning three Stanley Cups in just six seasons, especially in the salary-cap era, is no easy feat, but the Blackhawks have continued to be the cream of the crop come the postseason. While free agent signings and trades always help add depth to a team like the Blackhawks, it’s to smart drafting that Chicago can credit a fair amount of its success.
While the number of Russian players in the NHL has decreased when compared to the early 2000’s, a trend reversal is expected in the next few years, especially considering the difficult economic situation of the KHL. Some evidence of this change includes the offseason movement of some of the KHL’s top players crossing the Atlantic in a fashion that hasn’t been seen in many years, with players like Artemi Panarin, Evgeny Medvedev, Sergei Plotnikov and others venturing forth to the NHL. Read more»