Trade chatter has gone from murmurs to full-on screaming in Chicago ever since general manager Stan Bowman sent out a letter to the season-ticket holders to let them know the team was committed to a rebuild after trading winger Brandon Saad and allowing veteran goaltender Corey Crawford to leave in free agency this month. The decision was hard to swallow for players like captain Jonathan Toews, star forward Patrick and veteran defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, who have openly criticized the moves in the past weeks.
In a recent mailbag segment on NHL.com Tracey Myers was asked if the Blackhawks could find a buyer for one of their four big contracts, especially now that the star players had expressed discontent with what’s taking place in Chicago.
While Myers believes captain Toews when he states that he has no interest in playing anywhere else, she wonders if Kane and Keith feel differently. However, she thinks the four players are there to stay in Chicago especially given their contracts. There is no doubt that their respective deals remain tough to move and their no-movement clauses give them full control over their futures.
However, what happens to Kane or and Keith if very little process is made in the first years of the rebuild? Could they want out to get the chance to hoist the Stanley Cup once again before hanging up the skates?
It was reported that Bowman contacted all four players before publishing the letter, hoping to get them on board in this rebuilding process. The GM made a huge effort to get them interested in staying in Chicago and becoming mentors for younger players.
It has been a tough couple of years from the Hawks, who still managed to defeat the Edmonton Oilers in the qualifying round of this year’s playoffs before falling to the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round. However, no one can ignore the fact that the Blackhawks have not advanced past the first round of the postseason since winning the Stanley Cup in 2015. Something had to be done and we just hope to see Kane and Keith stick around to make this work.