GM Stan Bowman: Blackhawks add pieces that 'could help us now'


GM Stan Bowman: Blackhawks add pieces that 'could help us now'

The move was made primarily to help ease the Blackhawks’ salary-cap issues, the problems we all knew they were going to have entering the 2015-16 season.

But when Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman traded Patrick Sharp he said he wanted to get players who could help this team now, not later.

The Blackhawks acquired defenseman Trevor Daley and forward Ryan Garbutt in the deal that sent Sharp and defenseman Stephen Johns to the Dallas Stars on Friday night. For Bowman, who said he took “countless phone calls” over the last several weeks, this deal worked for the Blackhawks.

“Sometimes when you make trades of players who make a lot of money, you’re trying to get picks or prospects back. The key is to make our team better," Bowman said. "Obviously we’re trading away a good player. But this wasn’t trying to just get things that would help us down the road. We like our team as it is. We think we have a strong group of guys coming back that led us to the Cup a month ago. That was really the thing we talked about when in discussions with Dallas, trying to get something that could help us now.”

[MORE: Blackhawks trade Patrick Sharp to Dallas Stars]

What the Blackhawks get now is a veteran defenseman in Daley, who was with the Stars since the 2003-04 season. Daley recorded career highs in goals (16), assists (22) and points (38) in 68 games last season.

“He scored is last two years in Dallas, nine and 16 goals, so he’s on an uptick with his offensive game,” Bowman said. “In today’s game, having someone from the back end who can score at that rate is a nice weapon to have. We’ve always marveled at Trevor’s ability to skate. He’s a very active player, involved in the play. He’ll be a great fit for the style of hockey we play here.”

So does that mean there’s no chance that Johnny Oduya re-signs with the Blackhawks? It never seemed like a great possibility — the Blackhawks needed to fix their cap issues before they even thought about re-signing the defenseman. With Daley now here, it seems unlikely Oduya returns. But Bowman wouldn’t completely dismiss the possibility.

“I’m not going to rule anything out or in. It’s still sort of a fluid situation and there are a lot of factors at play,” Bowman said. “We’re getting closer to a point where we can say, ‘This is our team,’ but we’re not there yet. There have been some discussions on different things, but I can’t characterize it as more than that.”

Johns was expected to be a part of the Blackhawks’ defense when the regular season opened. Now, he’s headed to Dallas. It was a tough player to part with for Bowman, “but sometimes it’s required to make a deal.”

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“I do like that we have a number of prospects in our system that we’re still high on,” Bowman said. “We have a number of Swedish defensemen; they’re not over here in North America but their development is coming along nicely. We have others over here already who have made a positive impact.”

In Garbutt, the Blackhawks get a player who could fill a checking-line role. Garbutt had just eight goals in 67 games last season but had 17 goals in 75 games the previous season.

The Blackhawks knew the financial situation they were in and knew Sharp was a likely casualty of that cap problem. They wanted to get something in return, and something that could help them in the present. They’re hoping they got that.

“Obviously it’s difficult trading away an established player like Patrick Sharp and a good young player like Johns. But we wanted to continue to add pieces that can contribute next season,” Bowman said. “We’re excited for that.”

Andrew Shaw on his career season in Montreal and adding toughness to Blackhawks

Andrew Shaw on his career season in Montreal and adding toughness to Blackhawks

Andrew Shaw had a terrific 2018-19 season with the Montreal Canadiens. He set a career high with 47 points (19 goals, 28 assists) despite missing 19 games due to injuries and averaged 15:55 of ice time, which was the highest of his NHL career.

When asked to explain why he believes he had the best offensive output of his career, Shaw pointed to one thing.

“Honestly I just think it was the hunger for the game," Shaw said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "I missed nine months with knee surgery and concussions. I battled back to get back to where I needed to be and just started having fun again. Maybe I’m bigger, stronger, older. I think I’ve been in situations in games so many times that you’re better at reacting to them so I think that maybe that has a little bit to do with it.”

The Blackhawks reacquired Shaw because they've lacked some jam in their game over the past couple seasons. And looking at the other moves GM Stan Bowman has made this summer, it's clear that's an area they prioritized.

Shaw noticed it too and he's excited to see how it'll all come together this coming season.

“I still have to be me," Shaw said. "I still have to go out there and work and compete and bring the energy I’ve always brought. I think it’s the intensity and the love of the game that pushes me to do that so I think it’s something that others feed off of. With a couple other guys they brought in, too, we got a little bit more grit, a little bit more defensive game. I think it’s going to be a really good year.”

Check out the interview in the video above.

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Brian Campbell on Adam Boqvist's progression and preaching patience in his development

Brian Campbell on Adam Boqvist's progression and preaching patience in his development

The breakout star of Blackhawks development camp in July was undoubtedly Adam Boqvist, who was taken No. 8 overall in 2018. It was evident how much his game has grown over the past year.

Former Blackhawks defenseman — and now player development coach — Brian Campbell worked closely with Boqvist this past season and raved about the steps he took with the London Knights in the OHL. But Campbell is also preaching patience in Boqvist's development. Boqvist just turned 19 on Thursday, and it's important to let him develop at his own pace.

“Yeah, I was impressed," Campbell said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "Obviously, he’s come a long way in a year from last development camp. There’s no pressure being put on him. He’ll develop at his time. If he pushes for a spot, great, but I just don’t want people to get away. There’s a lot to keep learning and he wants to learn, which is the greatest thing. His teammates love him: great thing. He wants to do extra and learn the game: great thing. He is preparing himself days before, even in development camp, he’s preparing himself days before. So all great things and he’s on the right path.

"Hopefully that happens and maybe it does happen but if it doesn’t then that’s not the case and he keeps getting better and wants to keep getting better. Definitely, we know his skill level is there and I think he’s taken a huge step in the last year in preparing himself and knowing how to prepare as a pro player now. There’s a lot of great things there, and hopefully he does do that, but for me, I just don’t want to put too much on him right now. He’s turning 19 soon so he’s still a really young kid and it’s a tough position to play at a pro level. Believe me, I’m smiling, but I just don’t want to force the issue too much. Hopefully he can do some great things, but if he doesn’t, then that’s OK too.”