As the first week of free agency draws to a close, the Chicago Blackhawks went into the weekend much as they began this period: quietly.
The Zach PariseRyan Suter blockbuster was finally completed on July 4, with the Blackhawks coming up empty on their attempt to land, at least, Parise. It was worth a shot, certainly, but the Blackhawks need to address needs like defense, center and perhaps even goaltending still exists.
General manager Stan Bowman talked with the media on Wednesday night, but wouldnt say whether hed go through free agency or trades to find what the Blackhawks need.
I dont want to handicap it. Its possible we could pursue players. But one thing Ive tried to convey is weve got a really good nucleus of our team here, he said. Unlike some teams who have had players who left or (teams that have) holes in the roster, were not in that position. Weve got a full roster and were confident with our group right now.
The only mention of Blackhawks today was by Roberto Luongo on the Jeff ONeil Show, when he said he kinda wouldnt mindmaybe would consider playing for the Blackhawks. Heres what he said about potentially playing for them:
There are a lot of cities that are great to play in and Chicagos definitely one of them. But you have to realize it works both ways, said Luongo, who has nine years remaining on the 12-year, 64 million deal he signed in 2009. Its not only me involved. It would also be a question if the hawks would be interested in me and if (Vancouver) would be interested in trading me and if Id be willing to go there.
Meanwhile, heres what he told ONeil about playing for the Florida Panthers again:
Floridas definitely one of the spots Id be willing to go to, said Luongo, who lives there in the offseason and added that a trade there makes sense.
Yes, it seems very likely Luongos wearing a red jersey next season. But its very unlikely the one in Chicago.
So back to the Blackhawks and their quiet week. Bowman acknowledged that one thing hes learned though this whole process is that drafting and developing players, and building a team that way, is better in the long run. Any doubters, please see the Detroit Red Wings.
There are a lot of free agents and you have to overpay to get them; it drives home the significance of drafting well and developing well. Thats been our strength, Bowman said. The last two (summers) weve drafted very well. This one is no different. We intend to bring these players to the Blackhawks in short order. Thats whats become apparent to me. If youre trying to build a team through the July free-agent market, thats tough to do. Were trying to add a piece or two, as opposed to ones desperately trying to get their team going.
No, the Blackhawks arent in desperate mode. But they are in determined mode; determined not to have another first-round exit. And if they want to avoid that, theyll have to make some noise eventually.