I asked Stan Bowman yesterday if the cap space freed up by Duncan Keith’s trade and the early “retirements” of Brent Seabrook and Andrew Shaw would allow the Blackhawks to speed up the rebuilding process that was openly declared there. is barely nine months old.
âIf you have the opportunity to accelerate this progress, of course we want to do it,â he said. âWe’ve been doing this for the last few months, chatting, trying to see, ‘Is there a way to speed things up? The challenge is, you don’t want to do things that may be irresponsible just to speed up the process. We’re determined to figure out where we’re going by trying to build things. If we can take a step forward, whether it’s in the next few weeks, a few months, or during the season, if we have the capacity to do a transaction that will speed up our process, we will certainly be getting close. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.
Seth Jones could be that accelerator. The question is, should it be? And how much is it worth?
Our Pierre LeBrun reported that the Blackhawks are still “making do” on a Jones deal with Columbus, but that they would be wise to move forward cautiously. Jones wants to be traded, is coming out of bad years and the market is limited, so in theory the Blue Jackets don’t have much influence here. Playing hardball is essential for the Blackhawks. Don’t pay too much.
I’m not opposed to adding Seth Jones. I’m not even opposed to including pick # 12 tonight in such a deal. Obviously, Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach (Columbus’ initial claim, according to two sources) are not starters, but 2020 first round Lukas Reichel (who is likely to compete for a spot on the roster in the fall) and the first round 2018 Adam Boqvist (already a device on the blue line, but with a lot of development to do) should be too. The Jackets don’t have the power to demand any of these guys.
And if you don’t get Seth Jones, fine. Maybe you’ve dodged a bullet there, given what that next contract will look like and given its metrics lately. Yes, the Blackhawks are in dire need of a No. 1 defenseman to play alongside Connor Murphy. But Dougie Hamilton could be a better use of your money, anyway. Or let the children develop. It’s a reconstruction, isn’t it? Don’t skip steps unnecessarily.
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