The Chicago Blackhawks were founded way back in 1926. They are classified as one of the "Original Six" teams in the NHL. The franchise is tied for 4th in the history of the NHL with 6 Stanley Cup wins.
The team had a lengthy Stanley Cup drought that lasted 49 years. Only this year were they bumped out of second all time with the continued failures of the Leafs and Blues. In that time the franchise had its fair share of struggles. From 1974 until 2009 they would only make one Stanley Cup Final appearance (1992). The team had been mismanaged by the Wirtz family. The owner was more concerned with money than winning.
Wirtz's hard stance on money led to many of the moves on this list. From the trade of Phil Esposito to the moving of their young star Jeremy Roenick. It all came down to money for Bill Wirtz and that hurt the club. It is no coincidence the team has improved vastly since Bill's son Rocky took over.
Since Rocky took over the team has won three Stanley Cups and is still one of the strongest teams in the NHL. The team is a model franchise for the NHL. Here in this article, we are going to take a long look back at the history of the Chicago Blackhawks. So let's get this started as we countdown the 8 best and 7 worst moves in Chicago Blackhawks history.
15 Best: Signing Marian Hossa
14 Worst: Drafting Karl Dykhuis
Chicago definitely regrets the 1990 NHL draft. The Hawks had the 16th overall pick that year. Wanting some defensive help they selected Karl Dykhuis. Dykhuis would be a huge disappointment for the Blackhawks. He would only play 18 games over two seasons, scoring 1 goal and adding 8 assists. The Hawks would move on from him in 1995 trading him to the Philadelphia Flyers for Bob Wilkie and Philadelphia's 1997 5th round pick (Kyle Calder).
13 Best: Signing Artemi Panarin
12 Worst: Drafting Cam Barker
Heading into the 2004 NHL draft the Hawks had already drafted some of the elite players that would push their current dynasty. The Blackhawks would make few misses at the draft in the 2000s. In 2004 they took a big swing and missed on defenseman Cam Barker. The Blackhawks selected Barker 3rd overall passing on players like Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler. Barker would struggle in the NHL. He wasn't defensively reliable, and he couldn't provide much offense. Barker would play five seasons with the Hawks, only playing in 200 games. After only putting up 80 points with the Hawks, the Blackhawks pulled off one of their best deals to not make this list.
11 Best: Drafting Patrick Kane
10 Worst: Trading Dustin Byfuglien
The salary cap has forced many teams into some very difficult decisions. The Blackhawks are one of the teams that have been hit the most by the cap. Due to their solid decisions at the draft, they ended up with a wealth of top players. Top players demand top money and you can't afford them all. The Hawks were forced to make some difficult cuts after their cup win in 2010. The Hawks knew that their big defenseman/winger would need a big contract. On June 23rd 2010, the Blackhawks traded Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Brent Sopel and Akim Aliu to the Atlanta Thrashers for Joey Crabb, Jeremy Morin, Marty Reasoner, a 2010 first round pick (Kevin Hayes) and a 2010 2nd round pick (Justin Holl).
9 Best: Drafting Steve Larmer
8 Worst: Trading Jeremy Roenick
7 Best: Acquiring Glenn Hall & Ted Lindsay
In 1957 the Chicago Blackhawks pulled off a hell of a deal with the Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings were pissed at one of their stars Ted Lindsay for trying to start a union. They punished him and one of his closest friends in the locker room Glenn Hall with a trade to the last-place Blackhawks. Ted would only play a few seasons in Chicago before moving back to Detroit. Glenn Hall on the other hand, would play 618 games with the Blackhawks. Hall had a record of 275-229-106 with a GAA of 2.60.
6 Worst: Trading Chris Chelios
Chris Chelios was an ageless wonder in the National Hockey League. He would play nine years with the Chicago Blackhawks after their shrewd deal to land him from the Canadiens. He would have 487 points in 667 games as a Blackhawk. The Hawks thought Chelios was near the end of his career. On March 23rd, 1999 the Hawks would trade Chelios to the Detroit Red Wings for Anders Eriksson, a 1999 1st round pick (Steve McCarthy) and a 2001 1st round pick (Adam Munro).
5 Best: Acquiring Chris Chelios
What were the Montreal Canadiens thinking? After seven solid years as a defenseman for the club, the Canadiens traded Chris Chelios and a 1991 2nd round pick to the Blackhawks in exchange for Denis Savard. The president of the Canadiens (Ronald Corey) was worried how Chelios's off-ice activities would reflect on his company (Molson Breweries). Corey demanded the team move Chelios immediately, so the Habs never got fair value for their young star defenceman.
4 Worst: Trading Dominik Hasek
On August 7th, 1992 the Chicago Blackhawks traded Dominik Hasek to the Buffalo Sabres for goalie Stephane Beauregard and a 1993 4th round pick. The Hawks used the pick on Eric Daze (more on him later). Ed Belfour was the clear stater in Chicago, and the Hawks had Jimmy Waite as a backup. They decided that their young prospect Hasek was expendable. All Hasek would go on to do was win six Vezinas, two Hart trophies and two Stanley Cups. He single-handedly carried the Sabres to the cup final in 1999. Hasek would end his hall of fame career with the Red Wings where he would win his two cups. The Hawks traded Beauregard three days later to the Jets for Christian Ruuttu.
3 Best: Trading For Patrick Sharp
It's easy to forget that the 'Hawks didn't originally draft Sharp, as the team that did draft him, Philly, took him in the third round of the 2001 draft. Sharp's time in a Flyers uniform was pretty forgettable, as he had difficulty staying healthy. He made his NHL debut in the 2002-03 season but spent much of the next two years in the AHL with the Philadelphia Phantoms. Sharp would end up playing 22 games for the Flyers following the lockout before he was sent off to Chicago along with Eric Maloche in exchange for Matt Ellison and a third round pick.
2 Worst: Trading Phil Esposito
On May 15th, 1967 The Blackhawks made a trade that affected their team for decades to come. The Hawks made a blockbuster trade, moving Ken Hodge Sr., Phil Esposito and Fred Stanfield to the Boston Bruins for Jack Norris, Pit Martin and Gilles Marotte. Esposito signed with the Hawks as a teenager in 1960. He quickly became a first line player, teaming up with Hawks great Bobby Hull.
1 Best: Drafting Jonathon Toews
From 1997 until 2008 the Chicago Blackhawks only made one playoff appearance (in 2000-01 and were eliminated in five games) The tide started to shift in the early 2000s as the Blackhawks made some solid picks in the draft. In 2006 they selected their fearless leader. The Blackhawks were fortunate that Jonathan Toews was still available when they picked him #3 overall. Both the Blues and the Penguins regret not taking "Captain Serious".
Since debuting in the NHL, Toews has become one of the premier two-way forwards. He has led the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup wins and played a big part in two Olympic Gold Medal wins by Team Canada. A team is only as good as its leader and Toews is one of the best in the NHL.
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