Early in the season or not, it will be inevitable that the Chicago Blackhawks look at serious changes if they can’t get things turned around and pick up a win or two in the next few games. The team is saying the right things in the face of a winless start to the year but there’s already chatter that head coach Jeremy Colliton is on the hot seat.
Colliton said he believes he has management’s faith. He noted, “There are no secrets for how we’ve got to play. We know what we have to do. It’s up to me to find a way to get that to translate.” The players haven’t given up on the coach either. Seth Jones said after Sunday’s loss to the Detroit Red Wings:
“100 percent the team has faith in Jeremy. I’ve been here a short time, but his message has been great for us. What it really comes down to, there’s only so much a coach can do. He’s not going to lace them up for you.
“At the end of the day, this isn’t a coaching problem. This is a locker-room thing. This is the players on the ice playing the game. We all have to find a way to get on the same page and have a common goal on how we want to play and what our identity is.”
Still, the vision of Colliton handing the players the whiteboard during a timeout and letting them make their own play has people wondering if there’s a disconnect and whether or not Colliton can get a revamped Blackhawks roster out of this funk.
Things have gotten so gloomy, Larry Brooks of the New York Post is already wondering how long the Blackhawks wait before approaching the subject of trading stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. A few more losses or additional games where the team looks incredibly inept and conversations about major roster changes will inevitably creep to the forefront. Trade rumors won’t just surround a player like Dylan Strome. There will be questions about whether or not the Blackhawks need to do something more drastic.
Don’t Expect Kane or Toews to Be Dealt
As intriguing as the idea of the Blackhawks trying to trade either Kane or Toews might be, don’t expect things to go very far in that regard. First, both players have no-move clauses which means they have the hammer in any trade discussions. If they don’t want to go anywhere, they won’t be moving on. Second, each player has two years remaining on their contracts with matching $10.5 million cap hits. Those aren’t exactly easy deals to move.
Things would need to get so bad that Kane and/or Toews would need to approach the organization and let them know they’re open to being moved. Like Duncan Keith did this past offseason, it would be a player-initiated conversation and both players are likely miles away from feeling that desire yet.
Remember too, the Blackhawks heavily invested in this team being better. Trading for and extending Jones was a massive move for the franchise. It might turn out to be a huge overpayment, but it signaled the fact this team wasn’t looking at a rebuild and wanted to compete. GM Stan Bowman emphasized that notion when he traded for Marc-Andre Fleury.
While neither move has looked like a wise one thus far in the season the team is confident both will pick up their games as will much of the team.
As for what happens in 25-40 games if the Blackhawks are still awful… that’s another story.
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