The Chicago Blackhawks have turned into a model franchise for the NHL ever since they drafted two very important players in Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Their three Stanley Cup victories in six years is a mark of a consistency that hasn’t been seen in the NHL since they adopted the salary cap, and Toews and Kane are hugely responsible for such a championship pedigree. The immediate success the two of them have brought to Chicago speaks volumes and nearly every team in hockey has tried to emulate the formula that Chicago has seemingly gotten down to a science, be it through quality drafting or key acquisitions that consistently make the Blackhawks a formidable foe come the start of the NHL playoffs.
Their core group of players has been set in stone for just about a decade with Kane, Toews, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Marian Hossa, and Niklas Hjalmarsson, but salary cap issues have absolutely decimated their roster year after year. Having to piece together a lineup of cheap players around their core has been a necessity for Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman and head coach Joel Quenneville, and together they’ve written the book about how to scout quality young players to fill out the roster. But sometimes their radar is slightly off and certain iffy players end up making the otherwise impossible to crack lineup, and this list is here to point out those black sheep that happened to win a Stanley Cup.
With all that being said, we hope you enjoy our list of the 14 “meh” players that won the Cup alongside Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane!
14. John Madden
John Madden was primarily known for his defensive contributions as a forward, which immediately won him over with head coach Joel Quenneville. He was signed to a one year deal for $2.75 million before the 2009-2010 season, which basically means that he was a rental player during Chicago’s push for their first Stanley Cup victory since 1961. He was also at the tail end of his career and had already won two Cups with the New Jersey Devils, so calling him “bad” is a bit of a stretch, but considering his earth-shattering two points that he recorded in his 22 playoff games with the Hawks, he unfortunately makes the list.
13. Cristobal Huet
Cristobal Huet took over the starting job in net after Nikolai Khabibulin couldn’t stay healthy long enough to consistently make starts. He signed a four year, $22.4 million contract in 2008, but was always in a goalie tandem and never really made a convincing enough argument to be a sure shot at being the number one goalie despite the large contract. In the 2010 season, he was intended to be the team’s workhorse in goal but he was out-shined by backup netminder Antti Niemi and the team would eventually switch to him full time and win the Stanley Cup with Huet sitting on the bench.
12. Dan Carcillo
Can you believe that Dan Carcillo went to the Stanley Cup Finals four times between 2010 and 2015? In 2010, he was on the losing end of the Flyers’ run to the Cup, won it in 2013 with the Blackhawks, went back to the finals in 2014 with the Rangers, and was on the roster but didn’t play for the Blackhawks last season when they won it for the third time in six years. For a player like Carcillo, that’s pretty incredible because his career numbers are heavily weighted towards penalty minutes rather than more important ones like goals and assists.
11. Adam Burish
Adam Burish is your quintessential “role guy” or a player that isn’t going to light the world on fire but rather plays a key role in some aspects of the game. His game was more along the lines of defense, typically staying in or around the third and fourth lines and was used more as a checker than a playmaker. He won the Cup with the 2010 Blackhawks, but failed to register a single point for his 15 playoff appearances that year, while finishing with a -1 rating. In fact, his career playoff numbers read like this: 38 games played, three goals and two assists, and 36 penalty minutes. Not great…
10. Brent Sopel
Brent Sopel was a decent physical presence for the Hawks, but he was also pretty expensive. He signed a three year, $7 million contract extension in 2008 and made a decent impact by scoring 20 points in 58 games played in his first season with the team, but his production dropped off considerably the following two years. He would only score 10 points over the course of his next 96 games, adding only six more in the 2010 playoffs before being traded to the Atlanta Thrashers (along with Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Eager) in an obvious salary dump by Chicago Blackhawks’ former General Manager Dale Tallon.
9. Kyle Cumiskey
Kyle Cumiskey bounced all over the world throughout his career as a professional hockey player, from Canada to Sweden to American Hockey League stops in Lake Erie, Syracuse, Norfolk, and most recently the Rockford Ice Hogs. He eventually landed in Chicago during the 2014-2015 season and made absolutely no impact whatsoever on the scoresheet. He played in only seven regular season games and eight playoff games recording zero goals, zero assists, and zero contribution whatsoever be it offensively or defensively. He didn’t last very long with the Hawks, but just long enough to see his name engraved on the greatest trophy the NHL has to offer.
8. Michal Rozsival
Rozie makes the list simply because his best days are clearly behind him. Always a fan of veteran players, Quenneville has stuck with Michal Rozsival through thick and thin, despite the fact that his legs are clearly not getting any younger. I thought for sure that once Rozsival went out of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, after a hideous ankle injury that ended his season, he would retire while still on top of the NHL mountain, but he still stuck around for another season and was hardly a difference maker on the blue line for the Blackhawks’ disappointing 2016 playoff campaign.
7. Viktor Stalberg
Viktor Stalberg is extremely fast and gets himself into great areas of the ice, but he’s had trouble finding the back of the net and was turnover prone during his stint in Chicago. As a result, Quenneville soured on him and cut his playing time considerably. None too happy with the doghouse treatment from his head coach and, one trade request later, he was sent off to Nashville where signed a fairly large four year, $12 million deal, only to disappoint his new team. He was demoted to their minor league affiliate and was eventually bought out of his rather hefty contract.
6. Brandon Bollig
Yet another big body, enforcer type of a presence that was never known for offensive prowess, Brandon Bollig got his name etched onto the Cup in the lockout shortened 2013 season. He appeared in 25 out of the 48 regular season games but only dressed for five playoff games that year, amassing zero points and a combined total of 53 penalty minutes. He would play the next full season for the Blackhawks and make it back to the playoffs again, this time registering a lone assist before the Hawks lost to the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Finals.
5. Nick Boynton
Nick Boynton had a very long professional hockey playing career and when he won the Cup in 2010 with the Blackhawks ,it was essentially his swan song. He was traded to the Hawks in March of 2010 and went on to win the Cup in what would be his final trip to the Stanley Cup playoffs. He started the next season with the Hawks but failed to maintain his roster spot and was claimed off of waivers by the Philadelphia Flyers where he played his last 10 NHL games for his career. He retired from hockey at the conclusion of the 2010-2011 season.
4. Jordan Hendry
Jordan Hendry’s journey to the NHL was a long and grueling process. He played college hockey in Alaska from 2002 to 2006 and spent three years playing professional hockey with the Norfolk Admirals and eventually the Rockford Icehogs, the Blackhawks’ American Hockey League (AHL) minor league team. He was called up to the main roster in 2008 and played 40 games with the Hawks, notching four points and 22 penalty minutes. He would be demoted back to Rockford prior to the 2010 Cup season, but made the playoff roster and played in 15 games without registering a point. His NHL stint would fizzle out the next year and he bounced around between the AHL and the NLA (National League A) before playing his last two NHL games with the Anaheim Ducks in the 2012-2013 season.
3. Ben Eager
The Blackhawks’ roster was crafted very differently when they won the Cup in 2010 when Dale Tallon was at the helm because that team was built with much bigger players than the ones we see on the roster today. Ben Eager was one of those bigger bodies that was used more like Dan Carcillo than anyone else, so it’s not at all surprising to read his stat line of two goals and three assists in 35 playoff games with the Hawks. He was bundled up in the trade that sent Dustin Byfuglien and Brent Sopel to Atlanta a few weeks after the 2010 Cup win.
2. Colin Fraser
You know it’s a bad sign when you get your name engraved on the Stanley Cup… but you only played in three playoff games. To his credit, Colin Fraser actually didn’t perform all that bad during the 2010 season, tallying seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points in 70 games that year. But for whatever reason, Q wasn’t impressed with his atypical offensive numbers for a player of his type and he was shipped out of town two weeks after the Hawks won the Cup, where he has done well for himself by winning another Stanley Cups with Los Angeles.
1. Bryan Bickell
Listen, it’s not Bryan Bickell’s fault that Stan Bowman gave him a four year, $16 million extension after his miraculous 2013 Stanley Cup performance. The problem with Bickell is that he was never the same player after receiving that exorbitant amount of money. He racked up nine goals and eight assists during their run to the 2013 Cup and, at the time, his new deal sounded like he was going to join the core group of players and make many more deep playoff pushes, but Bickell couldn’t put together a solid enough string of games to even keep his job on the main roster and was demoted to the AHL as a $4 million player. He’s been shopped around on numerous occasions, but it’s obvious that no other team wants to take on that price tag and it’s even arguable that his contract alone handcuffed the Blackhawks enough to cost them dearly in this year’s playoffs. Bickell saw a total of zero minutes and zero seconds of ice time in the 2016 playoffs.
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