The Chicago Blackhawks are the 2013 Stanley Cup champions, capturing their second Stanley Cup in four years. The Hawks won Game 6 in thrilling fashion, scoring twice in 17 seconds in the last minute to stun the Bruins 3-2. Yes, the Blackhawks tied the Penguins total for goals against the Bruins, in just a 17 second span in Game 6.
At the end of the day, the Hawks were the best team in hockey from the start of the season – throughout, and a very deserving Champion.
All due respect to Penguins GM Ray Shero, but the real GM of the year is Chicago’s Stan Bowman.
After dismantling the 2010 Cup winning team within a year, Bowman developed through the draft and added the right pieces around his core players of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Marian Hossa, and Patrick Sharp to get the Blackhawks back on top.
The talent the Hawks were forced to trade or let go via free agency within a year or less of winning the Stanley in 2010 was astounding:
The players Chicago lost from that 2010 Stanley Cup team during one year or less timespan included:
Forwards – Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg, Andrew Ladd, Adam Burish, Tomas Kopecky, Troy Brouwer, Ben Eager, John Madden, Colin Fraser; Defensemen – Brian Campbell, Brent Sopel, Nick Boynton; Goaltenders Antti Niemi, Cristobal Huet.
Developing players through their system has been huge for the Blackhawks in replacing the likes of Byfuglien, Versteeg, Ladd, Niemi and others from that 2010 team.
Upfront Bryan Bickell (2004 2nd round pick) Andrew Shaw, (2011 5th round pick), Brandon Saad, 2011 (2nd round pick) and Markus Kruger (2009 5th round pick), all Chicago draft choices, evolved into prominent roles for the Hawks this season.
In net Corey Crawford, the Blackhawks 2003 2nd round pick, evolved into a Stanley Cup winning goaltender. If there’s one thing Chicago has showed the hockey world is how important the draft and developing players is in the salary cap era.
The Penguins should take notice as they need to start developing players through the draft much more effectively than they have during the Ray Shero era. It’s critical for them moving forward. The Penguins can talk about all of their regular season success but the 20-21 playoff record since 2009-2010 season is what it is……. mediocre