The Chicago Blackhawks have been a badly ran organization for a while now. That applies to on and off the ice. On the ice, the decisions made by Stan Bowman since winning the Stanley Cup in 2015 have been disastrous. The biggest stain on his resume is the fact that he traded Artemi Panarin to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Brandon Saad. It is as bad of a trade as the franchise has ever made.
Saad is a good player but Panarin is a top-ten NHL forward right now. It was always a bad idea to trade Panarin for two extra years of Saad with the exact same cap hit. Getting him resigned could have been a problem for another day. As bad as the trade was at the time, it continues to look even worse. It isn’t just because Panarin is now a Hart Trophy candidate each year either.
It is worse because they sent Saad to the Colorado Avalanche for Nikita Zadorov. The sentiment of getting a younger defenseman for him makes sense but it is the wrong choice of young defenseman. Zadorov is not very good outside of being a solid physical presence. The fact that Zadorov was a terrible fit in Chicago isn’t even the worst of it.
The Chicago Blackhawks left Nikita Zadorov unprotected for the Seattle Kraken to take in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. He is an RFA that is likely going to be selected so he can go play in the Pacific Northwest. Don’t at all be surprised if he fits like glove there either. It isn’t Zadorov’s fault that he is a part of this trade tree but he is. It continues to look worse and worse every day.
Looking back at the Artemi Panarin trade tree is ugly for the Chicago Blackhawks.
The fact that the Blackhawks are likely to end up with nothing out of Panarin is a disgrace. Stan Bowman has been bad at his job for pretty much his entire career but this takes the cake as the worst move he has made. It makes sense to leave Zadorov unprotected in favor of Caleb Jones, Riley Stillman, and Connor Murphy but the fact that it all links back to Panarin is the part that is upsetting.
Hopefully, regardless of what happens in the Expansion Draft, the Hawks are able to make the necessary changes to the organization. They haven’t done much winning in a while and it looks like it will only get worse before it gets better.