Blackhawks

Stanley Cup goal accomplished for newest Blackhawks

richardsvermetteslidenew.png

Stanley Cup goal accomplished for newest Blackhawks

Andrew Desjardins stood on the ice in happy disbelief, thrilled at the final result but also a little exhausted by what it took to get here.

“The amount of work that’s put in to getting to this is just hard to imagine,” said Desjardins, who had played no more than 11 playoff games in any year before playing 21 with the Blackhawks. “When you’ve never done it, you don’t even understand how much work it is to get here. It feels amazing right now.”

For the newest Blackhawks, such as Desjardins, Antoine Vermette and Teuvo Teravainen, there was a sense of awe to go along with the celebration after the Blackhawks claimed their third Stanley Cup in the past six seasons. They’re part of a team that makes annual lengthy trips to the postseason. It’s grueling, it’s exhausting but at the end of this trek, it was also worth the grind.

[MORE HAWKS: Blackhawks roll with the changes en route to another Cup]

“It’s surreal,” said Vermette, whose only other trip to the Stanley Cup Final was in 2007 with the Ottawa Senators. “It’s probably something you’ve heard in the past from different players but it’s tough to describe exactly what’s going on right now. At the end of the day you want it to sink in and enjoy every moment.”

Desjardins and Vermette, trade-deadline acquisitions, made big contributions down the stretch. Teravainen, who made tremendous strides from the start of this fall, also had clutch outings. Desjardins fit in well on the Blackhawks’ fourth line with Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger, forming a reliable trio that Desjardins said was always on the same page.

“It almost felt instantaneous,” Desjardins said. “We had great communication, we knew where each other was. It’s just one of those things that worked. We never stressed each other out, we were always positive. It just worked. It’s a great feeling when you play with two guys like that.”

Teravainen talked of his ups and downs this season, be it healthy scratches or trying to adapt to a new country and language. He went from a player who was hesitant to shoot or speak to one who was confident in both realms.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“I had to be patient and trust myself,” Teravainen said. “I think I’ve been getting more in the group all season. First, it was hard with the language change, but I think I’ve gotten better all the time. I finally got it, so I’m pretty excited right now.”

The newest Blackhawks embraced their roles with this team. It was going to take heavy lifting to lift that Cup. They bought into the plan. Now they’re reaping the reward.

“I was saying to the other guys, I think I had a pretty good workout this summer, I probably could handle [lifting the Cup] but I didn’t want to drop it,” Vermette said. “That was my first thought. It’s pretty special. Such a unique and special moment, I’ll cherish it the rest of my life.”

NHL Draft Profile: D Adam Boqvist

NHL Draft Profile: D Adam Boqvist

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Adam Boqvist

Position: Defenseman
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 168 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"Boqvist is a finesse defenseman who is very skilled, possesses excellent vision and tons of talent. He is fun to watch and full of surprises on the ice. He often plays bigger than his size and skated in his first games with Sweden's Senior National Team in April."

NHL player comparable: Erik Karlsson

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks would love to have Karlsson, who is probably being traded out of Ottawa this summer. Every team would love to have him. But that's not realistic for Chicago. So what if they drafted his potential mini me?

Boqvist is electric with the puck and has drawn comparisons to the Swedish defenseman as a best-case scenario.

There are two concerns, though. One is that he may need some time to develop at just 17 years old and his defense a work in progress. The second is that he's sustained head injuries over the course of his young career, which adds a little bit of risk to the equation.

If he can stay healthy and his development isn't rushed, there's major upside here. But are the Blackhawks willing to be patient? We're not so sure.

Should the Blackhawks explore bringing back Artemi Panarin?

artemi_panarin_usa_today.jpg
USA TODAY

Should the Blackhawks explore bringing back Artemi Panarin?

Here's an interesting development as we approach the NHL Draft: Artemi Panarin has informed the Blue Jackets that he's not ready to consider an extension "at this time" and because of that, Columbus is testing the market for the Russian winger, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen responded to the report shortly after in a statement released by the team:

"Artemi is an elite National Hockey League player. Our position has been that we want him to be a Blue Jacket for many years and that has not changed. He has a year left on his contract, so there is plenty of time to work towards that end. Should anything change moving forward, we will address it at that time and any decision we make will be in the best interest of our club.”

Ironically, Panarin was traded to Columbus on the afternoon of last year's draft as part of a blockbuster package that sent Brandon Saad back to Chicago. It shook up the hockey world, and has the potential to do so again.

Panarin is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019, but is free to sign an extension with Columbus on July 1. Clearly, that doesn't seem to be in the cards right now and it's why the Blue Jackets have to put out feelers. They can't risk losing him for nothing.

On the flip side, Panarin has every right to test the open market. He has one year left on his contract that carries a $6 million cap hit. He's due for a hefty raise, will be 27 years old next summer — the prime of his hockey career — and will certainly be looking for a long-term deal after accepting a bridge contract with the Blackhawks.

Speaking of whom, should his former team explore bringing him back to Chicago now that he's on the market?

Every general manager should and will do their due diligence and call for an asking price, Stan Bowman included. Those conversations might start with Alex DeBrincat or Nick Schmaltz, and if that's the case, you say thanks but no thanks and move on. 

The Blackhawks have the Nos. 8 and 27 picks in this year's draft as possible ammunition, but the Blue Jackets are ready to take that next step. They were up 2-0 in their first-round series before losing four straight to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals. It's unlikely they'd be looking to center a potential deal around draft picks. 

The only way you even consider it from the Blackhawks perspective is if Panarin is guaranteed to sign a long-term extension at a price you're comfortable with, but that's one of the main reasons why they traded him in the first place. 

To cap it all off, trading for Panarin wouldn't even address the Blackhawks' biggest need and that's a Top 4 defenseman. Those don't grow on trees. The Blackhawks will have the cap space to sign a player like James van Riemsdyk to patch up their top 6. You can't say the same for the free-agent blue line group.

So while it may certainly be fun for Blackhawks fans to come up with possible trade scenarios to get Panarin back in an Indianhead sweater, it just doesn't make great sense for a variety of reasons.