Jun 10, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wingBrandon Saad
(20) celebrates after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in game four of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
2. Find The Right Number For RFA’s
The biggest thing outside of trading Patrick Sharp on the docket for Stan Bowman is getting Brandon Saad to sign at a number that works for all parties. Granted a new GM trying to make a splash could throw a monkey wrench into the party with a huge RFA offer sheet to Brandon Saad.
This kind of maneuvering isn’t normal in the NHL, but it did cost the Chicago Blackhawks Antti Niemi in 2010 when the Doug Wilson (San Jose Sharks GM) signed RFA Niklas Hjalmarsson to an offer sheet which Stan Bowman matched, but in the end it cost the Chicago Blackhawks their first Stanley Cup winning goalie in 49 seasons.
If no one signs Saad then it’s up to Stan Bowman to come up with a salary cap dollar number for #20 that both Saad and the Chicago Blackhawks can live with for years to come.
The second RFA isn’t a flashy guy, but he’s extremely effective in a lot of areas and that’s Marcus Kruger.
Kruger doesn’t just center the 4th line of the Chicago Blackhawks which on most night’s eats possession time and are good anywhere on the 200ft playing surface. Kruger is a great penalty killer within the Chicago Blackhawks system so keeping him while giving him a pay raise while not killing the cap is another one of Stan Bowman’s summer missions.
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The other thing about the Free agents is that of course all say they want to stay in Chicago, but in the end this is a business and they all want to get paid. The one player that looks to genuinely want to stay in Chicago is Brad Richards.
Richards has said a few times since the Game #6 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning he wants to return and that he wants to play with Patrick Kane again next season. Of course Richards is an unrestricted free agent and can sign with anyone, but with the backing of #88 it will be interesting to see if he makes a return tour with the Chicago Blackhawks for the 2015-2016 season.
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