Hawks Insider

Why more moves could be coming for Blackhawks

/ by Charlie Roumeliotis
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
Hawks Insider

It's been a busy offseason so far for the Blackhawks front office.  

GM Stan Bowman and his staff traded two-time Stanley Cup champions Olli Maatta and Brandon Saad and prospects Dennis Gilbert and Dylan Sikura, parted ways with franchise goaltender Corey Crawford, added depth forwards Mattias Janmark, Brandon Pirri, Lucas Wallmark and defenseman Nikita Zadorov and re-signed Calder Trophy finalist Dominik Kubalik and goaltender Malcolm Subban.  

The next order of business appears to be hashing out an extension with pending restricted free agent forward Dylan Strome, who received a qualifying offer by the Blackhawks but remains unsigned.  

"We're still in the early stages of that," Bowman said Tuesday on the Blackhawks Talk Podcast. "The contract for Dylan is not finalized yet. We've had discussions probably in the early going, but I think I would anticipate we're going to get that done."  

Once the two sides come to an agreement, the Blackhawks will have essentially done their heavy-lifting for the offseason. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready to put a bow on things.  

While Bowman said the team is probably done adding players via free agency, general managers are always talking trade.  

"There's still teams calling around, more trade discussions now,” Bowman said. “There are still some free agents on the market, but I think most teams are looking at their team maybe seeing, ‘would a trade make more sense?’ There's certainly some concern league-wide with cap space. I know we're in a pretty good spot from that perspective. There's a handful of teams that have a lot of cap room and then there's over half the league that's right up against it, so they may be looking to move some pieces around."

 

The Blackhawks could be one of those teams looking to move pieces around as training camp approaches, whenever that may be. But not because they need to move out salary. 

Janmark, Pirri and Wallmark are expected to compete for full-time roster spots, and Andrew Shaw (concussion) and Zack Smith (back) could be back in the mix as well. That complicates things up front if the goal is to create more spots for their younger players to take on larger roles.

And on the back end, Bowman said he expects Ian Mitchell to be part of the equation this coming season and mentioned Wyatt Kalynuk as a possibility to make the team as well. But with Brent Seabrook (hips/shoulder) expected to be ready for training camp and the addition of Zadorov, where does everyone fit in?

These are questions that could sort themselves out during training camp. But if everyone is healthy, the Blackhawks could look to resolve some of those logjams before that.

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