Tonight will be the first time newly acquired Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya takes the ice. Stan Bowman traded a 2nd and a 3rd round pick in the 2013 draft for Oduya. Oduya is a decent player who should help the Blackhawks make the playoffs. He moves the puck well, skates pretty well, and can kill penalties probably more effectively than the Nick Leddy, Lepisto, O’Donnell, etc. Having said that…this was a public relations trade by Stan Bowman. Make no mistake about it.
Johnny Oduya is not a star player. He is not a piece that will fix all of the Blackhawks defensive woes. He is a third pair defenseman with 13 points and is a -9. If everything comes together down the stretch for the Blackhawks, maybe Oduya’s presence is enough to get the Blackhawks out of the first round…maybe.
Stan Bowman traded All-Star defenseman Brian Campbell away for basically nothing last summer and spent cap space on a collection of journmey men and underachievers who have been largely disappointments. At the time Bowman assured Blackhawks fans that the extra salary cap relief would be spent at the deadline. With the Blackhawks mired in yet another losing streak, ranking as one of the NHL’s worst defensive teams, and also struggling on special teams Stan Bowman made a desperate, short-sighted, public relations driven deal. Giving up two high draft picks for a rental 3rd pair defenseman is poor management. It’s just the latest mistake in what has been a downward spiral since Bowman took over 31 months ago.
Early round draft picks in 2013 are extremely valuable commodities. It’s value is something the Blackhawks should know very well. Duncan Keith…2nd round pick. Dave Bolland…2nd round pick. Patrick Sharp…3rd round pick. Corey Crawford…2nd round pick. And that’s just some of the current roster. Brandon Pirri, Jeremy Morin, and Brandon Saad, who are regarded as some of the Blackhawks’ best prospects, were also second round picks.
Stan Bowman threw away great assets for 18 games of an average defenseman. That’s deplorable management. Stan Bowman took over in July 2009, watched a team his predecessor assembled win the Stanley Cup, and has since made the team worse with every transaction. Obviously the salary cap limitations forced the Blackhawks to break-up their 2009-10 championship roster, but blaming the current state of the Blackhawks on the salary cap is a poor excuse. Stan Bowman has had his finger prints all over this team for 2 full off-seasons and has failed to deliver a winner. Another seemingly inevitable early playoff exit should have Stan Bowman’s seat feeling pretty hot despite his recent contract extension.