Blackhawks

Blackhawks notebook: A busy draft, free agency and RFAs

Blackhawks notebook: A busy draft, free agency and RFAs

Eight draft picks in about 3 ½ hours. It was a busy Saturday for the Blackhawks, and when general manager Stan Bowman talked that afternoon about the team’s Day 2 haul, he came prepared.

“I have my little cheat sheet,” Bowman said of the paper on which he had written the Blackhawks’ eight newest prospects.

After a few days’ worth of moves the Blackhawks focused on the future, taking nine players over two days at the NHL Draft. It was a successful weekend for the Blackhawks, who hosted the draft for the first time and built up assets, especially on the blue line. Five of the Blackhawks’ nine selections were defensemen.

“One of the things we talked about was looking at the market. There’s a high value on defensemen. We’re not necessarily looking at the draft but our team this year and over the next couple of years; those are the assets that are valuable around the league,” Bowman said. “Look at the trade Calgary made [for Travis Hamonic], defensemen are a valuable commodity. That was a priority coming in and we were able to accomplish it.”

What comes next

The Blackhawks got what they wanted at this weekend’s draft but the focus will soon shift, as free agency opens on July 1. It remains to be seen what the Blackhawks will have cap-wise come a week from now. Currently, according to CapFriendly.com, they’re $1.445 million over the $75 million cap. It’s doubtful the Blackhawks apply the long-term injured reserve tag on Marian Hossa during the offseason. It’s possible they could still trade Marcus Kruger to gain some space. Bowman said, one way or another, “there will be some movement.”

“We’ll bring some players in, I don’t know how many, what position or what level,” he said. “This is where there’s a lot of activity, the couple weeks in the middle of June until the middle of July. That’s when the most changes happen. We’ll go to work, now that we’re past this.”

Wait for it

The Blackhawks also have to decide whether or not to qualify restricted free agents Dennis Rasmussen and Tomas Jurco. Bowman said that’ll be decided by Monday.

“I’ve had discussions with both agents,” he said. “I don’t have an answer right now but we’ll have that worked out in the next day and a half.”

Blackhawks reportedly concerned Corey Crawford could miss rest of season

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Blackhawks reportedly concerned Corey Crawford could miss rest of season

Corey Crawford has been out since before Christmas with an injury that the Blackhawks have only described as an “upper-body injury,” but new reporting from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times paints a much worse picture than originally feared.

Lazerus cited three sources who said Crawford is dealing with “vertigo-like symptoms” for the second time in his career. Previously, coach Joel Quenneville was asked if Crawford would return this season and answered affimatively 10 days ago.

Crawford last played on Dec. 23 in New Jersey when he gave up three goals on seven shots and was pulled in the first period. He had been having a season worthy of putting him in the discussion for the Vezina Trophy, given to the NHL’s best goaltender.

Information on the injury from the Blackhawks has been hard to come by, which is why Lazerus’ reporting is such a big deal.

Anton Forsberg and 32-year-old rookie Jeff Glass have filled in while Crawford has been out. Crawford has a 16-9-2 record this season while Forsberg and Glass have combined to go 6-8-4.

As the Blackhawks sit outside a playoff spot for now, Crawford’s potential long-term absence could affect how the Blackhawks approach the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

Pat Boyle talked with Luke Stuckmeyer for a Facebook Live on the topic:

Ryan Hartman and the Blackhawks seem to be enjoying their bye week

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USA TODAY

Ryan Hartman and the Blackhawks seem to be enjoying their bye week

The Blackhawks are in the midst of their annual bye week during the NHL season, and they seem to be enjoying it.

Despite an ugly end to their pre-bye schedule, a 4-0 shutout loss to the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon, players went their separate ways to enjoy the break.

We found a handful of Blackhawks in Mexico - about as far away from ice as you could get - working on their tans and golf games.

Ryan Hartman’s Instagram captured a few pictures, and a video of himself teeing off shirtless, and shoeless. We're guessing they get a little more leeway on the course than you or I would.

This is the second year that all teams have at least a five-day break in their schedule. Perhaps it will allow the Blackhawks to reset and make a run at the postseason.