The Chicago Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup two times in the last four years (2010, 2013), but their journey after winning each Stanley Cup has been vastly different. With a new season about to start, we take a look back at the two offseasons after winning the Cup and compare to see which offseason was more difficult for the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Chicago Blackhawks won the 2010 Stanley Cup on June 9, 2010. It was their first Cup since 1961, breaking a 49 year drought. Early in the offseason, the team was faced with a salary cap problem. They had emerging stars on their roster, as well as free agents that needed to be signed. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough money to go around for everyone so some players had to go. The team lost several players through trade and free agency.
Here is a list of the key players they lost:
|Lost Via Trade||Lost Via Free Agency|
|Dustin Byfuglien||Adam Burish|
|Ben Eager||John Madden|
|Andrew Ladd||Antti Niemi|
As seen from the table above, the Blackhawks had a big turnover, losing some key players from their 2010 Stanley Cup winning team. Starting goaltender Antti Niemi, emerging star Kris Versteeg and big man Dustin Byfuglien are the names that really stand out. All three players played a big role on the team, with some of their contributions being hard to replace.
|Acquired Via Trade||Acquired Via Free Agency|
|Viktor Stalberg||Marty Turco|
Even though they were on a tight budget, the team was able to bring in three new players. Marty Turco would only remain in Chicago for one year and would become the backup goaltender to up-and-comer Corey Crawford. Viktor Stalberg would play for the Blackhawks for three seasons. He added some needed speed and put up a 22 goal scoring season back in 2011-2012. Michael Frolik also would remain with the team for three seasons. Although he did not fill the stat sheet, he played a very important role on the fourth line and penalty killing unit.
In the 2010 offseason, the team was also able to sign/re-sign some players. Marcus Kruger, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Nick Leddy, Brent Seabrook, Brandon Pirri and Bryan Bickell were all signed to new deals.
The team would begin training camp around September 18, which was 100 days after winning the Stanley Cup. The 2010-2011 season started on October 7, 2010. The team noticed a change in dynamic and the chemistry wasn't immediately there. The team would go on to finish third in the Central Division and eighth in the Western Conference, barely clinching a roster spot. In the first round of the playoffs, the team drew the Vancouver Canucks – a team that they had recent success against. The Blackhawks fell down 0-3 to the Canucks but battled back by tying the series at 3-3 to force a game seven. Unfortunately, the team couldn't quite pull off the miraculous comeback as they lost 2-1 in overtime.
The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup on June 24, 2013. The 2013 season was shortened to 48 games due to the NHL lockout. The team just started training camp on September 12, 2013 – 80 days after winning the Stanley Cup. The season will begin on October 1, 2013.
Unlike after winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, the Blackhawks were able to hold on to most, if not all, of their core this past offseason. They did however lose a few players via trade and free agency.
|Lost Via Trade||Lost Via Free Agency|
|Dave Bolland||Ray Emery|
|Daniel Carcillo||Viktor Stalberg|
The biggest names that stand out from the players the team lost are: Dave Bolland, Michael Frolik and Ray Emery. Bolland was a great player and leader for the Blackhawks but injuries had recently caught up to him and he was becoming a shell of his former self. Michael Frolik, who was acquired in the 2010 offseason, played an important role on the penalty killing unit and fourth line. Ray Emery, who was the backup goaltender in Chicago for two years, left the team for a chance at a starting role with the Philadelphia Flyers.
The team didn't acquire any impact players through trade or free agency, but they gave themselves more cap room. The biggest addition this past offseason would be backup goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin.
By freeing up cap room, the team was able to lock up several pieces for the next few years. Most notably, Bryan Bickell, Corey Crawford, and Niklas Hjalmarsson were given long term extensions. The team signed General Manager Stan Bowman and Head Coach Joel Quenneville to long term extensions as well.
In the 2010 offseason, the team had to revamp their roster and it definitely took time for the team to develop chemistry. With new faces and new skill sets, the team took a big step back in 2010-2011.
In the 2013 offseason, the main challenge for the Blackhawks was the quick turnaround. They won the Stanley at the end of June and were back on the ice in early September. After an offseason filled with partying, events, and celebration, the team could very well enter the 2013-2014 season feeling tired. We know how the team fared after the 2010 offseason, but it remains to be seen how the team will do after the 2013 offseason.
So which offseason was more difficult for the Blackhawks? The 2010 offseason was more difficult due to the roster changes. Replacing that many players on your team is very difficult and hard to overcome in a short period of time. Although the Blackhawks are faced with a short offseason in 2013, the majority of the team is still quite young and should have their legs ready for the new season.
After comparing the two offseasons, which one do you think was more difficult?
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