Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman looked at the acquisitions he made on Thursday and Friday and what they brought to the rest of the team.
“I think the one thing you also look at is just the chemistry of the group,” Bowman said.
As good as the Blackhawks have been this season, that’s one thing they’ve lacked on three of their four forward lines: that sustained chemistry that leads to production and a good line rotation. With these trades, Bowman hopes to have found it.
Since they did their heavy lifting heading into the weekend, the Blackhawks were quiet — save two minor-league deals — when the trade deadline hit on Monday afternoon. They got their men and got to see two of them, Andrew Ladd and Tomas Fleischmann, in the Blackhawks’ 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals on Sunday.
It was a pretty good debut — well, second go-around in Ladd’s case. That chemistry between Ladd and Jonathan Toews re-emerged as that game progressed. Throw Marian Hossa back into the mix when he gets back from his lower-body injury, and there’s no reason to think the familiarity between the three will kick in again. Despite not knowing each other well, Fleischmann meshed well with third-line partners Teuvo Teravainen and Andrew Desjardins. Considering Fleischmann’s chemistry in Montreal, with fellow acquisition Dale Weise, who will join the Blackhawks once his visa issues are resolved, expect to see those two together again soon.
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With this year’s moves, Bowman was aggressive. That’s unusual, considering his previous trade deadlines. But here’s where Bowman stayed with a longtime mantra: Any moves he made were about what the Blackhawks needed, not in anticipation of or in reaction to other teams’ moves.
The Blackhawks needed lines that clicked as well as their second line of Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane has all season. They need that four-line rotation, that all-around chemistry. Now they’ve got a chance to achieve that.
“It’s about getting our team a chance and a better opportunity,” Bowman said. “We talk about it with our coaches, we try to give them as many tools as we can, and I think Joel (Quenneville) and the coaching staff, they’ve done a great job of figuring it out after that in terms of where guys will slot in. I think everyone has their ideas of where the players are going to play, and as time goes on those things usually change around and I think that’s the genius of Joel. We’ve given him a lot of pieces to work with, and we’ll figure that out.”