Chicago, IL — Since the Hawks are out of the playoffs they are in somewhat unfamiliar territory, early time on their hands. This however maybe a great thing. Why?
Because it gives Stan Bowman and his scouting team a chance to gauge some of the worlds perhaps best NHL ready talents at the IIHF World Championships currently being held in St. Petersburg/Moscow Russia.
If history has shown Blackhawks fans anything it is how inventive, creative and flexible Stan Bowman and his scouting team is.
As Scott Powers reported for the Athletic1 I would suggest you go check that piece out by Scott, Stan Bowman is there as part of the Team USA advisory team but the Blackhawks scouting staff is also on hand I’m sure with their notebooks getting a workout as well as the players on the ice.
That has this Hawks fan very excited. If the scouting staff can find someone there even half as good as Artemi Panarin turned out to be the Blackhawks faithful will be overjoyed. Panarin is an illustration of several things.
- Great things come in small packages
- Europe has NHL worthy talents and should be looked at hard.
The Chicago Blackhawks know both of these things all too well and with their cap crunch situation item 2 is becoming more and more imperative if they want to remain atop a very competitive league.
The first item in regards to Artemi Panarin, not since Mikhail Baryshnikov was an unknown mostly to the west, with small stature and creative genius been overlooked by so many for silly notions. I’m betting most of these teams would like a do over now.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said as much during the playoffs their regret for not listening to Vlady Tarasenko when he tried to get the Blues to get Panarin.
Sorry but Chicago saw something in this budding young star they did not or were not willing to take a chance on. Who knows how high his ceiling can be. That is another thing Stan Bowman needs to do is lock this kid up for a long time. I would say actually this is priority numbero uno. Patrick Kane is not alone, Chicago loves their Breadman too.
Panarin is not alone the Hawks also saw something is Erik Gustafsson, Viktor Svedberg, Dennis Rasmussen ect..
Scott Powers also reported today that in speaking with Bowman the rumored talks being close with Czech D man Michal Kempny are not a done deal yet but they are working on it. So we see Stan is a busy guy. The article also goes into what type of Dman Kempny is.
There are plenty of jewels to be found if you’re looking correctly. Actually you need look no further than Panarin’s linemates for Team Russia’s Evgeni Dadonov (RW) and Vadim Shipachyov (C). Panarin and his linemates have been burning it up in Russia and both have stated they plan on going to the NHL this year.
Dadonov was originally drafted by the Florida Panthers but was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes and he never really caught on in the NHL despite success in the AHL perhaps now with more seasoning he is ready for the jump to the NHL at 27 years of age.
Shipachyov is a bit older at 29 but has tremendous offensive skills. It is rumored the Montreal Canadiens really want him as they did Panarin. He is currently leading in all points at the IIHF WC with 3G, 7A in only 5 games played. Dadonov has 3G, 5A and Panarin has 3G, 6A.
There is no question the chemistry these guys have, again this is on big ice with international rules. Will their skills be able to translate to the NHL? That is the question if they can make the jump as quickly as Panarin did. Who knows but they are worth a look. Doesn’t Toews need a winger or wingers if Ladd doesn’t return? And can a team ever have enough centers?
The only problem with them is again the Hawks have cap issues so there may not be enough money for the Hawks to get them and the two-way play that coach Q insists on maybe an issue or at least a development point, unless you’re an offensive dynamo then all is forgiven.
I never count Stan Bowman’s magic out though if he is interested in these players he will make it happen. Who knows what other players on other teams and even Team Russia the Hawks are eyeballing.
I should also mention Barry Smith, you know their Yoda of talent spotting and development is also in Russia. His official title is Director of player development. Smith was the one who spoke to Panarin about the Blackhawks and what they were all about and how his skills would fit in with the team which probably sold Panarin on the Hawks.
Also this past week Stan was able to sign Swedish prospect sensation Gustav Forsling who will have a great chance at making the roster come training camp. His upside is tremendous.
Stan does have his work cut out for him this summer with moving Bickell contract out, Andrew Ladd and Andrew Shaw can they be resigned? Finding Toews winger/s? Finding that 4th Dman and where does Ryan Hartman, Tyler Motte and Richard Panik fit? Stan needs to do something with Mark McNeill and sign Nick Schmaltz whew I’m tired just thinking about it.
The exciting thing is the Hawks were two goal post pings away and are still in their prime and only getting better with development and youth influx and some European flavor bringing their speed and skills.
Hawks fans should be excited for next year. Last season when the news broke Panarin was coming to Chicago even though the Hawks were still in the running for the Stanley Cup I could not contain my excitement for seeing Panarin with Kane and he didn’t disappoint, in fact he exceeded my and I think everyone’s except maybe his own expectations.
Will there be another Panarin that the Hawks find this year? It is certainly possible and maybe there isn’t one quit as special as Panarin but then again you never know and that is the fun of scouting and developing players.
One thing is known for sure, the Blackhawks are one of if not the best at this. Finding hidden talent or bringing out the best in players others have forgotten or were afraid to take a chance on.
What was that saying from Top Gun 2 when Commander Mike “Viper” Metacalf addressed the new class of US naval aviators? “Gentleman, you’re the top 1% of all naval aviators, the elite, the best of the best. We’ll make you better.”
And that is something the Blackhawks offer better than most teams and can sell. They will make you better with the details of positions and letting players use their creative geniuses if you want to work at your craft.
Isn’t that what any competitor wants is to become the best of the best in the world? Besides who wouldn’t want to play with that core.
Even with how great a natural talent Panarin is the Blackhawks will make him a better player when all is said and done.
In a interview with Russian Television Panarin said he wanted to come to the NHL to push himself to accomplish things in his life. I’m sure he wants to be the best of the best and he certainly has gotten off to a great start.
If other players feel the same way then Chicago may just be the ticket for them at least this Blackhawks fan hopes so.
1 Bowman: Signing skilled defenseman Michal Kempny not yet definite for Hawks by Scott Powers – theathletic.com