Any non-biased observer of the current NHL season will see the bold moves of one general manager as a sign that his team is all-in to win the Stanley Cup this year. That GM would be future Hall of Famer Stan Bowman as Chicago is one of the front runners to win their fourth Cup in 7 years. When you are trying to reload your team year after year, a GM is faced with the double-whammy of picking low in the draft, as well as needing to trade away draft picks and prospects to bring in players to help the team. Bowman has managed to snag important pieces such as Kimmo Timmonen, Antoine Vermette, Michael Handzus, and David Rundblad, among others, who played instrumental roles in helping the Hawks hoist Lord Stanley's Cup. So one would imagine that the Blackhawks minor league affiliate, the AHL's Rockford Icehogs, was struggling to compete with the young players' depth so low.
Well, you'd be wrong.
Currently, the Icehogs are in first place in the very competitive Central Division, where the top 4 teams are only seperated by 5 points. Just last week came news that Rockford Icehogs goaltender Michael Leighton breaking the AHL record for shutouts, a pretty impressive record and one that shows the Blackhawks depth at the goaltender position. Not all do the Hawks have Leighton, but newly acquired goaltender Drew MacIntyre looked very solid in his Icehogs debut, which shows that Stan Bowman was keeping an eye on the future as he made moves to improve the big squad at the trade deadline.
Just look at the roster and notice how many names you recognize who have played so well this season that they've even donned the Indianhead this season. Up front you have Tanner Kero, Vince Hinostroza, Ryan Hartman, Mark McNeill, Kyle Baun, and of course, 2013 Stanley Cup hero Bryan Bickell. That doesn't even include guys who started the year in the AHL but played so well they've stuck with the Blackhawks, like Dennis Rasmussen, Brandon Mashinter, or the highly coveted Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin and Phillip Danualt, who were moved to reenforce the Hawks' run for the Cup this year. And let's not forget about highly touted prospects Garret Ross and P-C Labrie, who lead the Hogs in goals.
Defense is just as strong, led by the imposing Victor Svedberg, who top hockey reporter Bob McKenzie said is likely to be a great NHL power play QB, and top prospects Ville Pokka, Cameron Schilling and Kirill Gotovets.
It sometimes can be easy to forget when watching the Blackhawks that they are being led in the front office by likely Hockey Hall of Famers like John McDonough, Jay Blunk and Stan Bowman. But one only needs to scratch the surface to see the amazing depth that this organization has, and how the Blackhawks are likely to stay at the top of the standings and in contention for the Stanley Cup year after year for a long, long time.