General manager Stan Bowman’s plan for the Blackhawks’ future will enter its second chapter this summer.
Since announcing the Hawks’ semi-rebuild last fall, Bowman steadily has maneuvered them through the first chapter. The period leading up to the trade deadline Monday, during which Bowman executed six deals that converted expendable assets and salary-cap space into more draft picks, prospects and NHL players with possibly untapped potential, served as the climax of that chapter.
The rookie draft, expansion draft and free-agency window this offseason will begin the next stage with a bang.
What already has become clear, however, is that Bowman is playing a numbers game with the Hawks’ rebuild.
The team hasn’t been — and likely won’t become — terrible enough to land another top-three draft pick (after lucking into center Kirby Dach in 2019). There’s no single franchise-altering player on the way.
But the idea is that if the Hawks accumulate a large number of players who might be good, then the number of them who do turn out to be good will be enough to fill out a young and deep, if not particularly star-laden, lineup.
And the first part of that process — accumulating the quantity — is nearly complete.
There are few certainties about the Hawks’ 2021-22 roster. Forwards Dach, Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat, defensemen Connor Murphy and Adam Boqvist and goalie Kevin Lankinen might be the only ones.