On Friday, members of the 2009-10 Chicago Blackhawks team that won the Stanley Cup will be reuniting in a game for charity. It's a fun event that should raise money for a good cause, but it's also a sad reminder for Blackhawks fans of just how good that team was. It's a reminder that the salary cap system wiped out any chance at forming what could have been a dynasty.
In Rockford, Ill., home of the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate, the IceHogs, GM Mark Bernard is seeing the benefits of that post-Cup dismantling. GM Stan Bowman and then-assistant GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, now running the Jets, did a great job accumulating young talent and draft picks under tough circumstances. Everybody in the league knew they had to cut salary, and yet they got a strong return for the players they had to deal. Mix in strong drafting from director of scouting Mark Kelley and the result is a talented collection of players in the AHL, waiting for the lockout to end so they can resume chasing NHL time in Chicago.
Brandon Saad has the potential to be the best of the talented group playing in Rockford right now. He's off to a slow start in the AHL (no goals and a minus-2 in three games) but the big winger is a player Bernard is thrilled to have, even if it's not for very long.
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