Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman’s "logjam" is over. Trading season in the NHL commenced on Thursday with the move of Dallas Stars defenseman Nicklas Grossman to Philadelphia and Tampa Bay Lightning center Dominick Moore to San Jose. Montreal defenseman Hall Gill was sent to Nashville on Friday.
The rival Sharks got a center they needed but not necessarily one the Hawks wanted. Moore fits a third line role on a contending team. The Hawks are set there. Grossman was coveted by Chicago but the demands were too high, according to sources who confirmed to ESPNChicago.com the Stars wanted highly touted prospect Brandon Saad in exchange for the defenseman. Gill also would have been a nice fit, but another rival got him as well.
So it goes for Bowman. Hawks’ fans have been waiting for a deal to help their ailing defense, and Bowman hasn’t been shy about saying he wants to add to his blue-line. It has yet to happen.
You can’t blame him for turning the Grossman deal down, but was there something in between Saad and what the Flyers gave Dallas? Grossman only cost them a second-round pick in 2012 and a third-round pick in 2013.
The Hawks could have matched that offer or exceeded it, by at least a small margin, if they wanted to. Then again Saad was a second-round pick himself, and that’s what Dallas wanted. The difference is knowing the player, who in this case a pretty good prospect, as opposed to an unknown future pick makes a world of difference.
Of course, it’s possible Dallas needed to be wowed by a playoff contender in the West, such as the Hawks, to trade Grossman within the conference. Dallas isn't exactly out of the playoff race and helping a rival probably isn't the best form of business. However, logic says Grossman isn't such a special player the Stars would take a decidedly worse offer just to move him to the other conference.
But it's water under the bridge now. He's off the list as a potential addition to the Hawks as is Gill. Most of the behind-the-scenes conversations about these deals or non-deals won’t come to light, but at the end of the day on Feb. 27, the NHL trading deadline -- Bowman will be judged on how he helped or didn’t help the Hawks no matter the circumstances.
Pavel Kubina of Tampa Bay or Chris Campoli of Montreal as well as Marek Zidlicky of Minnesota all remain possibilities for the Hawks. There are others as well. The point being, Bowman and other general managers have been saying for a while "there’s no movement right now" in the trade market, but that no longer applies.
The trade deadline is nearing. It’s time for the Hawks to get serious about adding a piece or two. If the recent nine-game slide re-enforced anything, it’s that the Hawks need help.