Blackhawks

Blackhawks quiet on the trade front

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Blackhawks quiet on the trade front

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman talked about the progress of some prospects during this weeks camp, how Brandon Saad has great potential this season, how Adam Clendening is among the top young defensemen in the system and how Teuvo Teravainen is going to be a special player.
But along the trade front, the talk has diminished.
It was a quiet week around the NHL in terms of trades. And while Bowman said that theres still talk going on, its not as frantic as 10 days ago.
Weve had discussions but a lot of teams are doing camps like we are. Teams across the league are focusing on this, Bowman said as the Blackhawks camp wrapped up on Friday. This is an important event for us and were dedicating a lot of time on it. There are still discussions, but its not like it was probably 10 days ago.
So now with camps ending, the talk will probably pick up again. There are still a few players who could be on the move this summer, from free agents like Shane Doan to those currently with contracts like Rick Nash, Bobby Ryan and Roberto Luongo. The Blackhawks are one of several teams who are interested in Doan, who could still re-sign with the Phoenix Coyotes if their ownership situation gets more settled.
Bowman said the Blackhawks have inquired about several players.
Weve talked to a number of players and were going to continue to do that. Any time we can improve our team, were going to look at it, be it free agency or trade, he said. But weve got a lot of good players here. Some of the kids may be ready to take the next step. Im not saying were not going to do anything else, but we do have a good group here.
Bowman reiterated the need to draft and develop well, and that helped the Blackhawks last season when they got key contributions from recent draftees such as Saad and Andrew Shaw. Saad, who played some center during Fridays scrimmage, is expected to push for a spot on the roster this fall. Shaw is expected to play a bigger role. Clendening, Bowman said, is probably the one (prospect) defenseman who has the most potential to make a jump. Its good for him to look at this year as a learning year, but also one he can make an impact for us.
Will the Blackhawks add anyone else this summer? Talk was quiet this week. But theres a lot of summer left. And with camps finishing, there should be more talking again.
Were in a good position, relative to some teams, he said. Weve got a good group of players, some of them already under contract and some of them are young and you can push them down if you have to. Its going to be a competitive camp even right now, without adding new players.

Brandon Saad joins the Blackhawks All-Decade Team

Brandon Saad joins the Blackhawks All-Decade Team

Throughout the 2019-20 season, NBC Sports Chicago will be unveiling its Blackhawks All-Decade Team. The roster will feature the 14 forwards, 7 defensemen and two goaltenders that made the biggest impact on the franchise from the 2010 through 2019 seasons.

Man Child. The Saad Father. Baby Hoss. Kneel Before Saad.

You’ve got to have a pretty good start to your career to get nicknames and phrases like that coined after you as a 20-something breaking into the league. What Brandon Saad did in the first few seasons of his NHL career certainly qualifies.

After being selected in the second round of the NHL draft in 2011 (a steal, by all accounts), Saad eventually worked his way into the Blackhawks’ lineup and became a key contributor on two Stanley Cup teams…and did so before the age of 23.

Saad has spent parts of seven seasons in Chicago, notching 95 goals and 211 points in 374 games as a member of the Blackhawks. But his presence has been felt even more so in the playoffs. In 67 playoff games with the Hawks, Saad has 15 goals and 19 assists with a plus-16 rating. And if it weren’t for a tough-luck loss in Game 7 against the Kings in the 2014 Western Conference Finals, he might have had his name in consideration for a Conn Smythe Trophy, too.

Unfortunately for Saad, his career might forever be linked to Artemi Panarin’s because of the 2017 trade that brought the power-forward back to Chicago. But for as good as the Panarin/Artem Anisimov/Patrick Kane line was for a while – and that line doesn’t happen without Anisimov coming to Chicago in the first Saad trade – there might not have been a better two-way line in the NHL at one point than Saad/Jonathan Toews/Marian Hossa.

Whatever nickname you choose for him, Brandon Saad earns a spot on our Blackhawks All-Decade team as the left winger on the third line. 

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Alex Nylander on healthy scratch, feedback from Jeremy Colliton and role with Blackhawks

Alex Nylander on healthy scratch, feedback from Jeremy Colliton and role with Blackhawks

Alex Nylander's first couple weeks of the 2019-20 season have been interesting. He started on the top line and scored a goal in the season opener but by the third game found himself on the outside looking in.

Nylander sat out for one game before drawing back into the lineup on Monday, where he was placed on the fourth line with Ryan Carpenter and Zack Smith. He logged a team-low 8:20 of ice time, but scored the second goal of the game that turned out to be the game-winner.

While he was disappointed about being a healthy scratch against Winnipeg on Saturday, Nylander took the positives out of observing the action from afar and taking a step back to collect himself.

"Of course you always want to be in the lineup but that could've been good for me to watch the game and learn from that game and take what I learned from that game into my game," Nylander said. "It was obviously something you don't want to do, you want to be in the lineup as much as possible and obviously stay there. I played a good game last game so I'm just going to build off that and keep doing what I've done all training camp, be confident and make my plays."

Nylander and head coach Jeremy Colliton sat down on Wednesday and watched every shift the 21-year-old took in Monday's 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers. And the review was positive.

"I thought he was very good," Colliton said. "Eleven shifts, he was probably good for five, great for five and he had one tough one. He helped us win. He was a big part of our win the other night. It can be a little easier for him when he's playing less to really focus on the quality when he's out there. It may not be a bad thing for him as he grows into an everyday NHLer."

Nylander said he appreciated having that kind of line of communication with his head coach. He was drafted No. 8 overall in 2016 but hasn't been able to break through at the NHL level, so he's been open to any kind of constructive criticism.

"It's been really great," Nylander said. "Obviously I want to have a positive mindset every day here and get better. Getting feedback from my linemates as well as the coaches has been really good, just taking everything in and applying it to my game."  

The Blackhawks are trying to being patient with Nylander, but they're also trying to find a balance between giving him a long leash and holding him accountable. That goes with any young player.

"It's a combination of giving a guy enough room to make some mistakes and that's how he's going to grow but it's also accountability," Colliton said. "Sometimes you got to get a guy's attention. But he's responded great. Got no issues with his work ethic. He came out of the lineup for one game and I think he did everything right after that. Just how he approached practice, how he approached the media, being asked about it and how he approached his chance when he came back to make a difference for us."  

For now, Nylander will remain on the fourth line because the four-line rotation worked so well in their previous game. But it's clear he wants to have a large role on the team. He's just got to earn it on a consistent basis.

"Just focus on every shift I get here and obviously want to be good every shift and show that I want to be back on the top line or get more ice time," Nylander said. "But I've just got to play good here, work hard every shift and take advantage of who's out there and use my skill out there and just try to make plays and be good defensively as well."

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