Blackhawks

Bowman ready to deal, but 'there's nothing imminent'

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Bowman ready to deal, but 'there's nothing imminent'

CALGARY, Alberta Stan Bowman said the talk between general managers has continued, but its not any more busy than it was before the All-Star break.

So if youre itching for trade action, relax. Not happening right now.

I think anyone who says theyre close to a trade is full of it at this point, Bowman said prior to the Blackhawks game against the Calgary Flames on Friday night. Theres just nothing happening.

Welcome to the parity era, folks, where every team believes its still in the playoff race even if it may not be. That will change as the Feb. 27 trade deadline nears. But Bowman, who reiterated that hes still looking for another defenseman, said theres nothing imminent on the horizon for the Blackhawks.

I talked to some GMs today and said, What are you hearing? They said, Nothing. Theres nothing going on other than teams looking to get players. Nobodys giving them up, Bowman said. Its a big logjam at this point. Until teams fall more out of the race, were not going to see anything happen.

So for everyone who wants to see a big move made ASAP after that dismal 8-4 loss in Edmonton on Thursday night, apply the brakes. Even if Bowman is ready to pull the trigger, nobodys ready to give him the bullets.

No, Bowman is not looking for a goaltender. While he admits the Blackhawks netminders could be better Corey Crawford was pulled after allowing five on Thursday hes confident that theyll rebound. Hes also not willing to make drastic changes.

Bowman will keep hunting for that defenseman. He knows its a weak spot for the Blackhawks right now and that there are a lot of discussions on how to improve. But as far as buying, Bowman is waiting patiently for the right seller to come along.

I like our personnel, Bowman said. Were trying to upgrade; its not like we have guys playing who cant play in the NHL. We have guys who can improve on their level of play. At the same time were trying to enhance our group instead of completely remake it. I think time will tell on that. There are a lot of teams looking for a defenseman, and you never know.

Should the Blackhawks explore bringing back Artemi Panarin?

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USA TODAY

Should the Blackhawks explore bringing back Artemi Panarin?

Here's an interesting development as we approach the NHL Draft: Artemi Panarin has informed the Blue Jackets that he's not ready to consider an extension "at this time" and because of that, Columbus is testing the market for the Russian winger, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen responded to the report shortly after in a statement released by the team:

"Artemi is an elite National Hockey League player. Our position has been that we want him to be a Blue Jacket for many years and that has not changed. He has a year left on his contract, so there is plenty of time to work towards that end. Should anything change moving forward, we will address it at that time and any decision we make will be in the best interest of our club.”

Ironically, Panarin was traded to Columbus on the afternoon of last year's draft as part of a blockbuster package that sent Brandon Saad back to Chicago. It shook up the hockey world, and has the potential to do so again.

Panarin is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019, but is free to sign an extension with Columbus on July 1. Clearly, that doesn't seem to be in the cards right now and it's why the Blue Jackets have to put out feelers. They can't risk losing him for nothing.

On the flip side, Panarin has every right to test the open market. He has one year left on his contract that carries a $6 million cap hit. He's due for a hefty raise, will be 27 years old next summer — the prime of his hockey career — and will certainly be looking for a long-term deal after accepting a bridge contract with the Blackhawks.

Speaking of whom, should his former team explore bringing him back to Chicago now that he's on the market?

Every general manager should and will do their due diligence and call for an asking price, Stan Bowman included. Those conversations might start with Alex DeBrincat or Nick Schmaltz, and if that's the case, you say thanks but no thanks and move on. 

The Blackhawks have the Nos. 8 and 27 picks in this year's draft as possible ammunition, but the Blue Jackets are ready to take that next step. They were up 2-0 in their first-round series before losing four straight to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals. It's unlikely they'd be looking to center a potential deal around draft picks. 

The only way you even consider it from the Blackhawks perspective is if Panarin is guaranteed to sign a long-term extension at a price you're comfortable with, but that's one of the main reasons why they traded him in the first place. 

To cap it all off, trading for Panarin wouldn't even address the Blackhawks' biggest need and that's a Top 4 defenseman. Those don't grow on trees. The Blackhawks will have the cap space to sign a player like James van Riemsdyk to patch up their top 6. You can't say the same for the free-agent blue line group.

So while it may certainly be fun for Blackhawks fans to come up with possible trade scenarios to get Panarin back in an Indianhead sweater, it just doesn't make great sense for a variety of reasons.

NHL Draft Profile: F Filip Zadina

NHL Draft Profile: F Filip Zadina

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Filip Zadina

Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-0
Weight: 195 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"He's got the puck skills, is a good skater, and is a guy with some high-end offensive talent. He wants to get right in there and play where it's hard and where you get rewarded. When he gets that puck on his stick, he wants to bury it."

NHL player comparable: Marian Hossa

Fit for Blackhawks:

You know who the Blackhawks missed last year? Hossa. It's not mentioned enough when analyzing what went wrong in 2017-18. 

Well, Zadina is a player who's got the upside of Hossa and is one of a few prospects who could potentially crack the NHL lineup this upcoming season. The scouting report above is all you need to know about Zadina's style of play, and Blackhawks fans surely nodded through the whole thing because it's exactly what the team is looking for.

However, this is a case where the Blackhawks would have to trade up to snag him if they want him, because there's little chance he'll be on the board when the eighth pick rolls around. And it's probably unlikely they would do so, given what it may take to move up a few spots.