Since joining the Chicago Blackhawks in 2001 as a special assistant to the general manager, there’s perhaps no executive in all of hockey who has experienced quite as much success as Stan Bowman. Since working his way through the ranks and being named general manager of the team in 2009, he’s gone on to guide the Hawks to 3 Stanley Cups, more than any other team over the span. But, considering that the man is the son of the NHL’s all-time most winningest coach and that he’s literally named after the Stanley Cup, should we be surprised?
What should come as a surprise is the impressive season that the Blackhawks are having this year. Forced to jettison contributors like Patrick Sharp, Andrew Ladd and Brandon Saad within the past two seasons due to salary cap constraints, Bowman has been forced to turn his team over to youth and cheaper contracts. And wouldn’t you know it…but the kids are alright.
When talking about his team’s young players, Bowman said “I’m impressed that they’ve done what I hoped they’d do. I had expectations that some of these players would take the next step in their career and do what they’ve done at other levels in the NHL…I think for most of guys, they were able to transfer their game.”
When asked which young players in particular had stood out, Bowman said “In the case of Schmaltz, Hartman and Kempny, they all showed that they could essentially do what they did at other levels and do it at the NHL level.”
Typically the Blackhawks would load up on a marquee player at the annual NHL trade deadline, but with his team being tight up against the cap this season, Bowman has had to get creative. “I guess you could call John Hayden our trade deadline acquisition. What he’s done has been pretty remarkable. To come out of college at the busiest and most intense time of year and not only get his feet wet but make a difference, I’ve been very impressed with his progression.”
There’s no doubt that the Blackhawks are in good hands with Bowman at the helm. He’s has transformed the franchise from a laughing stock into the gold standard of the NHL. Another Cup on his resume this summer would only further cement his place in Blackhawks history.