For Chicago Blackhawks, Shaw over Teravainen the right choice

Say this much for Stan Bowman: After every trade the Chicago Blackhawks general manager pulls off, he is unquestionably positive during the Q&A sessions with reporters that follow.

Such was the case again after Bowman shipped Teuvo Teravainen and Bryan Bickell to Carolina on Wednesday for a second-round pick in this year's NHL draft and a third-rounder in 2017.

I don't mind the trade. Teravainen likely will turn into a solid NHL player, but if you have to choose between him and Andrew Shaw for the next four years, I'll take the hard-nosed Shaw every time.

Maybe that puts me in the minority, and that's fine. But with the Hawks' Stanley Cup window getting smaller by the season, the team needs Shaw's infectious personality as much as it needs his ability to score and rankle opponents on a nightly basis.

Some may argue there are plenty of "Shaws" in the system to step in next season. Maybe a Kyle Baun or a Ryan Hartman. Or Dale Weise, if the Hawks want to re-sign the unrestricted free agent.

I'll respectfully disagree and leave it at that.

Jonathan Toews and Co. love Shaw, and it would be a huge blow to morale if he were allowed to walk.

"He would be a difficult guy to replace," Patrick Kane said two days after the Hawks were eliminated from the playoffs. "We all enjoy having him around. He's one of those guys that gets along with everyone on the team. He brings some comedy to the room."

The downside with Shaw is his relentless style will lead to injuries down the road. With that in mind, I'd sign him to a four-year deal and let him go to another team when he's 28 with about 200,000 miles on the odometer.

As for losing Teravainen, Hawks fans can blame Bowman for signing Bickell to that four-year, $16 million contract after the 2012-13 season. Or blame Bickell for not playing up to the deal.

Either way, that albatross contract meant the team had to shed a 21-year-old Finn with fantastic vision, rare skating ability and almost completely untapped potential.

Bowman talked Wednesday about the need to stay flexible with his roster, that the plan changes based on many factors, including what happens with the salary cap, the looming expansion as the NHL expects to add a 31st team in Las Vegas, changes on the Hawks' roster and changes in how the Hawks might want to tweak their style.

"Every year or two we had good players that were effective players," Bowman said. "We liked them. But it doesn't always fit in your puzzle. I think if anything we've shown the ability to reinvent different parts of our roster. …

"Sometimes it takes moving players (where) people might be surprised at it, but we're trying to look forward and not look backward. We certainly wish Teuvo the best. He's a great young player, but we're also excited about where we're going."

Should Hawks fans share those sentiments?

They will if players such as Vinnie Hinostroza and/or Nick Schmaltz make them forget about Teravainen.

Bowman is very high on both and mentioned Schmaltz on Wednesday. The 20-year-old was a first-round pick in 2014, and the 6-foot, 171-pound forward spent the last two seasons playing at North Dakota.

It will be interesting to see whether Schmaltz decides to leave college early and sign an entry-level deal.

Bowman's track record remains very solid. The deals he made at the deadline in 2015 helped pave the way to the team's third title since 2010, and he unearthed one of the great overseas finds of all time in Artemi Panarin.

But the GM has made his share of mistakes.

The recent ones (in my mind anyway) include trading Patrick Sharp and Stephen Johns to Dallas for Trevor Daley. Then Daley was shipped to Pittsburgh for a worthless Rob Scuderi.

Even if we concede that the second trade was purely for cap reasons, why was the initial deal made in the first place? Why trade a valuable forward in Sharp and an up-and-coming defenseman in Johns to a division rival for a player who didn't fit the Hawks' system?

It was a bad miscalculation by Bowman, and one that likely will rear its ugly head for years to come.

Wednesday's deal may come back to haunt Bowman as well. But if Shaw is re-signed and continues to produce and the move paves the way to a long-term deal for Panarin, fans will agree that trading Teravainen was something that just had to be done.

Follow John on Twitter @johndietzdh.

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