Apparently Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman never intended to address the defense during the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, either with a selection or through a trade.
Chris Kuc, Chicago Blackhawks beat reporter for the Chicago Tribune, hinted in an article he updated on Saturday night that Bowman thought the most prudent course of action to help an underachieving defense was to wait and see.
Kuc quoted Bowman, referring to free-agent defensemen, saying that the Blackhawks will “have to see where it goes. If it makes sense…we’ll pull the trigger.”
Hawks fans, how does that make you feel?
The GM wants to “see where it goes” during the 2012 NHL draft when he should be drafting to fit a need.
Caution at a time when the defense is aging and the window for another championship is closing.
The Blackhawks need defense.
The draft started with the 18th pick in the first round for Chicago. Bowman used that pick to draft Finish forward Teuvo Teravainen. At 5'11" and 195 lbs., Teravainen is less physical than current Hawk Patrick Kane.
Defenseman Matthew Finn (drafted by Toronto at No. 35) was available.
In the second round he selected Quebec Major Junior Hockey League defenseman Dillon Fournier.
Fournier has the potential to fill out and be a solid blueliner for a while, but he is not expected to play for the Blackhawks until next year, at the earliest.
The third round saw Bowman draft another winger.
The NHL draft offered no help for the Hawks' defense in the first three rounds.
No help for the defense on a team that had no chance in their own end against the Phoenix Coyotes during this past season’s Stanley Cup playoff series.
Bowman did not readdress the defense until the fifth round, when he selected Travis Brown.
The “skinny” on Brown, to use Kuc’s words, is that he is “still developing.”
Now, Bowman is the general manager of an Original Six team for a reason. Maybe this draft will end up being a trove of talent and he has a trick up his sleeve to address the defense, like signing free-agent defenseman Ryan Suter.
Blackhawks fans better hope so.
After two straight first-round playoff exits, now is not the time to wait.