PITTSBURGH The 2012 NHL Entry Draft had barely begun when the trades did, too, the blockbuster coming just a few minutes in when the host Penguins dealt Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes.
But other than that first wave, it was a pretty quiet trade night. The Blackhawks were one of those quiet teams. But general manager Stan Bowman expects the trades to pick up soon and his team could be making moves, too.
Bowman said nothing panned out as the Blackhawks wrapped up Day 1 of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft on Friday. But just because nothing happened tonight didnt mean something couldnt happen soon.
There might be a misconception: unless youre trading draft picks, you dont have to get it done before the draft, Bowman said. We have a full compliment (of picks). Were still open to making moves, but that can happen at any point. I wouldnt rule anything in or out. Were willing to do something if it makes sense. If it does, well pull the trigger.
We didnt have to get done tonight, he said. We could easily do a trade on Monday.
Yes, theres still plenty of time for things to shake out. Theres about a week remaining until free agency, which begins on July 1, and then thats a whole new ballgame. And while the Blackhawks have a full roster, one that Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville said they feel fine moving forward with, shaking things up is probably in the Blackhawks best interests. A source said that defensemen Niklas Hjlmarsson was likely to be shopped.
Bowman wouldnt say what, specifically, he was looking for.
I wouldnt characterize it as one thing, he said. We have a lot of guys who are attractive to other teams. If we can get the right player, well do it.
The talk was still there on Friday. It will probably be there again on Saturday, and continue once all of the GMs leave Pittsburgh. Bowman said hell do whats necessary to improve the Blackhawks. The right deal could do that.
Were open to anything, Bowman said. You cant rule things out. Certain players you wont move. But you have to be able to listen. Opportunities are there but we have to see where it goes.