Blackhawks

Extra money isn't burning hole in Bowman's wallet

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Extra money isn't burning hole in Bowman's wallet

CALGARY, Alberta The Chicago Blackhawks have a tidy little chunk of change at their disposal. Yes, were talking a few million dollars here, something the Blackhawks havent enjoyed in some time.

But just because they have it doesnt mean general manager Stan Bowman is ready to spend it.

The Blackhawks are off to the start they wanted this season. They have good personnel and good depth. So even though the Blackhawks now have about 6 million in cap space after Rostislav Olesz was assigned to the Rockford IceHogs, Bowman said theyll hold onto that cash for a while.

Were not in a rush to spend money, he said prior to the Blackhawks game against the Calgary Flames on Friday night. We have a lot more cap space than weve had before, and when the time is right, if the opportunity comes, we wont hesitate to move on it. Right now, we dont have any things were close to doing or looking at. But were always looking ahead at what might be there. Well see what happens.

The Blackhawks are enjoying this extra-cash thing. The biggest advantage right now is avoiding last seasons rigmarole of sending players back and forth from Rockford just to save cash.

On the trade and acquisition front, the Blackhawks can afford (no pun intended) to sit back and wait. First, its November. This isnt exactly the big trade or pick-up time of year. As Bowman said, nobodys giving up on their season yet.

Most (trades) come down in the second half and in the few weeks nearing the deadline. Its not like theres a lot of opportunities out there. Most teams that will eventually become sellers are not sellers yet.

Second, the Blackhawks arent exactly in need of making a move. Theyre winning. Theyve got plenty of depth. Hockey seasons are long and things can change quickly. If the Blackhawks suffer a big injury and need to pick someone up to supplement the loss, they can. If they want to get a gem come late winter, early spring, they can.

The Blackhawks like having extra cash to play with. Theyll spend it wisely.

Were trying to improve any deficiencies we may have as the season unfolds, Bowman said. We have a good idea where our team is at. Its inevitable things are going to change, whether its injuries or we hit a rough patch. Right now were not looking to do anything in particular. Were comfortable with the players we have.

2019 NHL Draft Profile: D Bowen Byram

2019 NHL Draft Profile: D Bowen Byram

From June 10-20, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile one top prospect per day — 11 total — leading up to the 2019 NHL Draft as the Blackhawks prepare to pick third overall.

Bowen Byram

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 193 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report from Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley:

"He's had an outstanding year. Second half of the year he's really been outstanding. He really kind of drew a lot of attention to himself. Well-deserved. He's a dynamic player and he affects the outcome of a game."

Byram describes his own game:

On Duncan Keith comparisons: "I would say that’s pretty accurate. He’s a really energetic guy, good on both sides of the puck, kills penalties, runs the power play. That’s kind of how I’d describe myself, for sure. That’s definitely a fair comparison."

NHL player comparable: Duncan Keith

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks have used their last three first-round picks on defensemen, but positional needs aren't a priority when you're drafting this high — although, in the grand scheme of things, it's a pressing need despite the overflow of defensemen in the pipeline. TSN's Craig Button has said multiple times on the Hawks Talk Podcast that Byram is a future No. 1 defenseman in the NHL, and he would immediately become the top prospect in the organization.

Byram, known for his swagger and two-way game, has drawn comparisons to Drew Doughty and Keith, both of whom have won a Norris Trophy — Keith has two. More importantly, Doughty and Keith also have their names on the Stanley Cup multiple times and were both driving forces during those title runs. These are the types of defensemen you win championships with.

Byram set records in the Western Hockey League as a 17-year-old, and he could probably step into the pros immediately. But that's asking a lot for a defenseman, so he'd be more likely to become an everyday NHL player starting in 2020-21.

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2019 NHL Draft Profile: C Trevor Zegras

2019 NHL Draft Profile: C Trevor Zegras

From June 10-20, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile one top prospect per day — 11 total — leading up to the 2019 NHL Draft as the Blackhawks prepare to pick third overall.

Trevor Zegras

Position: Center
Height: 6-foot-0
Weight: 169 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report from Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley:

"Trevor is a high skilled centerman, very good skater, very, very creative, comfortable and creative with the puck."

Zegras describes his own game:

On his creativity: "I think growing up, watching a bunch of guys in the NHL like Patrick Kane mess around the ice, just something I’ve always done as a little kid. Maybe I rolled into the driveway and work on fun passes. It’s what I’m really good at."

NHL player comparable: Patrick Kane

Fit for Blackhawks:

Talk to any player on USA Hockey's National Team Development Program and they'll say Zegras was the most offensively gifted player of the group, which is saying a lot when you consider some of the names he's up against (Matthew Boldy, Cole Caufield, Jack Hughes, Alex Turcotte, to name a few).

At the NHL scouting combine, Zegras mentioned Kane several times as somebody he tries modeling his game after. The vision, the passing, the skating, the playmaking ability, the hockey IQ. He has it all offensively, and also doesn't get enough credit for his two-way game.

Zegras is somebody that has quickly been rising on draft boards, and it's because he has the potential to be a 90-point player in the NHL as a center. His name has been discussed by the Blackhawks at No. 3 and he's certainly a tempting option. Pair Zegras with Kane for the next decade and it's scary to think about the numbers the two could put up together.

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