The Chicago Blackhawks and general manager Stan Bowman had a pretty busy offseason not what many people expected.
While many believed that the Blackhawks were in rebuild mode, Bowman pounced and made some huge moves making the team arguably a solid contender.
One of the biggest moves was landing the Blackhawks a starting goalie to fill the hole left by Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner two seasons ago as Bowman added 2021 Vezina winner Marc-Andre Fleury.
Not only did Bowman add the 2021 Vezina winner, he also went out and acquired arguably the best defenseman available in Seth Jones.
ESPN absolutely loved the Blackhawks offseason and gave it an A grade.
Check out their write up below:
Key additions: G Marc-Andre Fleury, D Seth Jones, C Tyler Johnson, D Caleb Jones, D Jake McCabe, LW Jujhar Khaira
Key losses: D Duncan Keith, D Adam Boqvist, D Brent Seabrook, C Pius Suter, C David Kampf, C Vinnie Hinostroza
Remaining hole: After being one of the busiest teams throughout free agency, through trades and signing, the Blackhawks may just be done for now -- unless they find someone who wants to trade for goalies Malcolm Subban or Collin Delia, who lost valuable playing time now that Marc-Andre Fleury is on board.
Grade: A. The Blackhawks acquired the reigning Vezina Trophy winner for nothing. The price was significantly higher for Jones -- a swap of 2021 first-rounders, another conditional first-rounder and young defenseman Adam Boqvist -- but the Blackhawks landed a true No. 1 defenseman not too far removed from Norris Trophy hype. His $5.4 million cap hit is a bargain this season; the jury's out on that $9.5 million AAV, eight-year, full no-movement commitment they made beyond that.
McCabe was one of the offseason's best low-key signings. Johnson still has something to offer, and they snagged a second-rounder from Tampa Bay while saving some real dollars by offloading Brent Seabrook's contract. The work done this offseason, plus the return of Jonathan Toews, plus the relative weakness of much of the Western Conference, equals a team that could challenge for a playoff spot this season.