The Chicago Blackhawks may not being playing hockey for a while, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done. With the playoffs being over, the offseason can begin and Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman can get to work.
From signing Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to contract extensions to trading away players like Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya or Patrick Sharp, the Blackhawks have a long summer ahead of them. As soon as Toews and Kane have their contract extensions (which Bowman says he hopes to have done close to July 1st), a direction can be set to what needs to be done to play around with the salary cap while making the necessary changes to get the Blackhawks back to the top of the NHL mountain.
The draft will be a time when Bowman can shed easy cap space with guys like Oduya and able to acquire draft picks and payroll flexibility to maybe go out and trade for one of the big names that have been rumored to be moved this summer.
The feeling is that Bowman learned from the playoffs that Kris Versteeg can’t be the only addition to a team, especially when teams like the Los Angeles Kings are acquiring the talents of Marian Gaborik. Now that doesn’t mean a panic move should be made, but players age and new blood needs to be brought in to keep this team as one of the top teams in the league.
By getting the two best players on this team locked up for the rest of their careers along with creating some cap space and adding in some new blood (either through acquisition or by playing Jeremy Morin and Teuvo Teravainen) the Blackhawks can put themselves back in position to return to the Stanley Cup finals and once again bring a Cup back to West Madison.
It’s an interesting time to be a Blackhawks fan. The Western Conference is getting better by the day and the Blackhawks need to keep up. It makes for some interesting playoff hockey and some interesting rivalries, which is a good thing for everybody.