You see, Chicago, this is not the way it’s supposed to work.
Not in the salary-cap era, at least. We lost an entire season to get this system, and then we lost another half-season to … well, nobody’s quite sure, but to tweak it, we guess. This is supposed to be the age of parity in the NHL, and that means everybody needs to play by the rules.
Here’s how it’s supposed to go: You lose. You draft high and pray you find a superstar or two. You try to find a few more stars on the trade market or in free agency. That’s your core, and you build up a supporting cast around it as cheaply as possible.
And then the window opens, maybe for a year or two, maybe longer if you’re lucky. That’s your chance to win the Stanley Cup. At that point, all you can do is cross your fingers and hope.
And then — and this is the important part — the window slams shut.