The Chicago Blackhawks have done well to stock the shelves with high-level prospects who have turned the team into a constant playoff threat.
Now that they have the core of the team set, and the shelves reloaded again, it is time for management to use these extra assets in order to add important pieces to the roster.
It is the circle of life in the NHL.
You need to draft well and then move those assets that can not be fit into the team for proven players. This is what the Blackhawks need to do. They have the talent, but a few extra pieces would solidify them as a No. 1 Cup challenger.
Below are five players in the organization—who very well could become stars one day—that need to be moved as soon as possible in order to begin the process of giving the Blackhawks that extra boost to win another Stanley Cup.
Kyle Beach could turn into the biggest bust for the Blackhawks' scouting staff in the past few years. Or, if given the chance, he could finally prove his worth.
Beach was considered to be a top prospect and a player that would grow into a dominant power forward. Yet we are still waiting for it to all come together.
The style he plays, and ultimately what will allow him to excel at the NHL level, may just take time for him to adjust to. However, how much time will that be, and will Beach be able to do it at all?
A former first-round pick (11th overall) of the Blackhawks in 2008, he still holds plenty of upside. When Beach is on his game, he can be an offensive force, able to score and able to pound opponents simultaneously. He has potential but needs to be able to show that on a consistent basis.
So far this year with Rockford, Beach has been able to put together seven points, including five goals, in 12 games played. Not bad, but also not exactly what you expect from a first-round pick four years ago.
The time is right for the Hawks to move him and take advantage of whatever upside he may still have. Or risk the fact that Beach may never live up to his potential.
Although he could not find a place in net with the Rockford Icehogs this year, that is not to say that Mac Carruth is not a good goaltender.
He has put up unbelievable numbers in juniors, and that trend has continued this year.
Carruth has been solid yet again for the Portland Winterhawks, sporting a record of 9-1-0 so far this season. In those 10 games, he has only allowed one goal and is the owner of a league-high .947 save percentage. Those are some very impressive numbers indeed.
But is it good enough to crack a spot in the NHL? With the Blackhawks riding young goaltender Corey Crawford, and having two others who they feel are more capable than Carruth playing in Rockford, is there any room for this young goalie?
If the Blackhawks are not willing to let him play in the AHL to show off his skills, then maybe a move needs to be done now while sporting such impressive junior numbers.
With a documented height of 5'11", you have to wonder if that was taken with skates on or not. To say the least, Teuvo Teravainen is small. Too small to handle the rigors of the NHL, possibly?
There is no denying that the skill is there, especially considering he has had comparisons to Blackhawks star Patrick Kane. But the real question is his size, and not necessarily his height, but his frame. Will he be able to put on enough weight to be the offensive force he is pegged for? Or will defenders just have a field day with him?
Lots of questions for such a talent.
Teravainen has shown little improvement over last season's stats. During his first season in Finland's top league, he put up 18 points in 40 games. However, this year Teravainen has only been able to accumulate seven points in 15 games. Basically, he's on pace for the same production.
Of course, the Blackhawks would love to slide him into that second-line center position, but that position may need to be filled sooner rather than later. Teravainen is still at least a year away from NHL action.
If that is the case, Teravainen may be a good piece to dangle to get a proven, perhaps a little larger, NHL player.
With a blue line jam-packed with defensemen—and an exciting youngster by the name of Adam Clendening—it is time for the Blackhawks to move Dylan Olsen and get something in return.
Olsen was drafted by the Blackhawks in the first round (28th overall) of the 2009 NHL entry draft. And although he is still a young talent, you sometimes need to move young players to get pieces you need. The Blackhawks find themselves in that very situation.
Last year, Olsen played 28 games with the Blackhawks and finished as a minus-five. With the rest of the season spent in Rockford, he also sported a minus-five throughout 44 games. Not exactly the type of stat you like to see from a guy capable of playing at the NHL level.
So far this season with the Icehogs, Olsen has no points and is a minus-four in 10 games.
Olsen will likely become a full-time NHL defenseman, but at the moment, the Blackhawks do not have the room or the need for his talents.
Olsen needs to be moved while his upside is still high enough to garner a valuable return.
There is no denying Jeremy Morin has a natural gift to score goals. But that alone—combined with other factors that do not work to his advantage—is not enough to make you a good NHL player.
Depth players are easy to find, and the Blackhawks were hoping for anything but that when they acquired Morin from the Atlanta Thrashers in the trade that sent Dustin Byfuglien out of town.
Three years ago, playing for Kitchener in the Ontario Hockey League, Morin was able to score 47 goals in 58 games. Very impressive stats, and numbers the Blackhawks were hoping to see more of as Morin made the transition to the NHL level.
So far, he has only been able to transfer that ability slightly to the AHL. In order for him to become a full-time NHL player, Morin is going to have to expand his game throughout all the zones. If he can do that, he will become a lot more valuable to a team.
This year in Rockford, Morin has been able to score seven goals in 16 games. If he can show he can produce at a healthy clip with the Blackhawks—whenever the NHL decides to return—he may be able to stick around for a while.
If not, Morin needs to be moved to try and acquire a capable NHL player.