On the heels of the Andrew Ladd trade, Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman raved about all the things Ladd brings “to the table.”
That trade brings something else to the table: the Blackhawks truly threw down the gauntlet.
Even without Ladd, the Blackhawks found themselves right in the mix for the Central Division crown, which almost certainly would give them the West’s top seed. The context of their current team – still very good, maybe dominant – and their three recent Stanley Cups (Obama visits are almost mundane) and people believe that the rich got richer.
Beyond that, though, it’s clear that the Blackhawks are all about the present. Most obviously, they’ve cleaned out their high draft picks (even if those picks are likely to come toward the end of their given rounds).
If Blackhawks want to get a little giddy, consider the fact that Bowman might not even be done yet.
Ladd’s addition alone almost seems unfair to other contenders around the league. That’s the advantage to going bold, though.
You could argue that the Blackhawks have some flaws, but Ladd makes a scary team even scarier. If they fall short of a fourth Stanley Cup of the Jonathan Toews – Patrick Kane era, it won’t be for a lack of trying.