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.”

Wake-up call? Brandon Saad 'surprised' about possibility of being a healthy scratch


Wake-up call? Brandon Saad 'surprised' about possibility of being a healthy scratch

Brandon Saad played a majority of last season on the first line, started this season on the second to change things up, got demoted to the fourth by the fifth game, and could find himself out of the lineup in the sixth.

Before the Blackhawks hit the ice for practice on Monday, the 25-year-old winger found a white jersey hanging in his stall. That's usually reserved for players who are injured — Andreas Martinsen (back) was the only other player wearing one — or players who are on the outside looking in, which appears to be Saad right now considering he was not part of the four-line rotation.

"I don't think anyone wants to be wearing white around here," he said. "But it is what it is and there's nothing you can do but keep trying to improve. It's their job to make the call to put the best team out there to win hockey games."

Known for being even-keeled through the ups and downs, Saad expressed disappointment about the possibility of being a healthy scratch on Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes. He didn't exactly show that emotion following his demotion to the fourth line, perhaps out of respect to the players he was playing with by noting how it brings balance.

But he did on Monday, and it was the first time we've really seen some sort of emotion out of him.

"Everyone makes mistakes and things aren't always going to go your way but to be out of the lineup, a little surprised today," Saad said. "But it is what it is. ... No one wants to be out of the lineup. That's never fun regardless of who you are."

When asked to pinpoint what's gone wrong, Saad said he wasn't the right person to ask.

"I think you got to ask him that," he said, referring to Joel Quenneville and the coaching staff. "It's his calls. For me, you can talk pros and cons as much as you want but just trying to go out there and compete and win hockey games. We've won a few here, I know every game has gone to overtime so they've been close. Nothing was said to me about lineup change or anything like that. You just come in and you see your jersey and you go out there and you play."

So Quenneville was asked.

"Just expect more," he said. "That's the situation."

Is his mindset in the right place?

"I think he's fine," Quenneville said. "His mindset is what it is. Whether it's urgency or passion, coming up with loose pucks in those areas is going to be the difference."

The Blackhawks sending a message shouldn't only be directed at Saad. It also serves as a reminder to his teammates and is important to note for the younger guys about earning your ice time.

"I don't really know where the coaches are coming from so I'm not going to comment on that," Jonathan Toews said respectfully. "But [Saad] has been doing some good things and I think it's good for all of us to know what's going on there because if [Saad] can get his ice time taken away, then so can a lot of guys, myself included. So we all want to play well and have team success."

The Blackhawks need Saad to return to form quickly because he's crucial to their overall success. There's no debate about that. It's why the thought of Saad, who played in all 82 games last season, serving as the 13th forward is frustrating for everyone involved.

It hasn't been a problem in the past, but now it's becoming one because of the Blackhawks' aspirations of getting back to the playoffs and their dependence on their top players.

"I don’t think it’s an issue," Quenneville said. "We just expect more out of him."

Blackhawks make sports history with fifth straight overtime game to start season

Blackhawks make sports history with fifth straight overtime game to start season

The Blackhawks made sports history on Saturday after they appeared in their fifth straight overtime game to start the season.

No NHL team has done that since the league introduced a regular-season overtime period in 1983-84, per the Elias Sports Bureau. It also has never happened in the history of MLB, NBA or NFL, showing just how crazy this early season run has been for the Blackhawks, who have rallied from all five games and have come away with wins in three of them.

"We’ve had five games, every one of them have been extremely intense and the game’s been on the line from start to finish," coach Joel Quenneville said following a 4-3 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues. "Our group’s been competitive this year, the guys have been working hard for one another. I don’t know how many games we’ve been down in the third period, and coming back to win is special."

The Blackhawks appeared in 17 overtime/shootout games last season and won seven of them. They are one of six teams this season that have yet to pick up a regulation win.

On a separate note, Saturday marked the eighth time in Blackhawks history that one player scored a tying goal in the third period and scored in overtime (Alex DeBrincat), according to the NHL's PR department. It's the second time it's happened this year for the Blackhawks, with Jonathan Toews the other on Oct. 6 against St. Louis.