2015-16 was shaping up to another big year for the Blackhawks. Not only were they coming off a Stanley Cup victory, they also added a core player in Artemi Panarin on a cheap entry-level contract. On top of that, they added Andrew Ladd, Dale Weise, and Tomas Fleischmann in advance of the trade deadline in the hopes of making another deep postseason run. Unfortunately for Chicago, they were ousted in the first round by St. Louis, ending their year on a sour note.
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune sat down with team President John McDonough to discuss the year that was and Chicago’s offseason moves thus far. Here are some of the highlights:
“That was a tough one for a lot of reasons. He’s a wonderful young man. He had an organic grittiness that really struck a nerve with Chicagoans, maybe more than any athlete I’ve been associated with. He represented what people wanted this franchise to embody.”
On head coach Joel Quenneville and how long he may stick around:
“I have never had a conversation with anybody about Joel’s successor. He has four years left on his contract, is an energetic 58 and a very, very powerful figure. Joel has the same thing as Shaw — that relatable characteristic people are drawn to.”
On general manager Stan Bowman:
“I’m really proud of Stan because he’s not afraid to make the tough decisions. Stan is a prolific listener. He’s very thorough and he gets a lot of information from a lot of people… You better have a plan in case you need to change the plan. And Stan had to look at things differently. He couldn’t be more committed or engaged. He’s understated, subdued, measured. I have to check his pulse from time to time.”
On Patrick Kane’s decision to stay in Chicago for the offseason to training instead of going home to Buffalo:
“That was completely his choice. I care for him deeply. We’ve been through a lot together. I want him to succeed and not just on the ice. He’s in such a good place right now. He looks great, looks clear and healthy. I think he has good relationships and is on a good path.”
Chicago has close to a full roster under contract and has inked all of their restricted free agents. They have just shy of $2.4MM in cap space according to Cap Friendly, enough money left that they could make a run at one more free agent forward to shore up their depth. Here is a look at their projected depth chart, courtesy of Roster Resource.