I honestly have no idea what they’re going to do I would be surprised if they didn’t make at least a minor move or two. It would be out of character for Stan Bowman to stay completely pat.
He knows he has a good team that has the possibility of being great. Ultimately, though, it always come down to finances for the Blackhawks, and theirs is quite complicated now and will be in the future as well.
Hearing Stan Bowman tell reporters a couple weeks ago that he was prepared to stand pat at the trade deadline this season was surprising for a couple reasons.
First, Bowman isn’t known for using public statements like that as subterfuge. He’s usually a pretty straight shooter. So, from that aspect you have to think there is a real possibility the Blackhawks might not make a deadline deal this season.
That brings us to the second reason his comments raised some eyebrows, which is simply the fact this team needs to make a trade — if not more than one.
The Blackhawks had a great road trip, winning five straight before the bye week, but there are still flaws. They need a more experienced left wing to play with Jonathan Toews. They could also use a defensive stopper type of defenseman to play with Niklas Hjalmarsson.
Will they get one or both?
My money would be on one or the other, but not both. And if I were asked to bet on it, I’d say the Blackhawks take a serious look at a guy like Tomas Vanek of the Red Wings, assuming his recent ankle injury isn’t too serious. Vanek has a low cap hit, will be an unrestricted free agent, has experience, offensive skill and shouldn’t cost a first-round pick to acquire.
I still say Patrick Sharp would be a perfect fit from a playing aspect, with his unmatched familiarity with Joel Quenneville and the ’Hawks’ core group of veterans. The issue is his $5.9 million cap hit, which would need to be mitigated by either the Stars keeping most of it or the ’Hawks clearing space in another way.
Sharp, who’s also set to be a UFA, would likely have a higher price tag than Vanek in terms of assets it would take to land him … but the window to compete for the Cup with this core group won’t be open forever.
It might be worth the price of admission to land a guy like Sharp, who’s been playing well since recovering from his concussion issues earlier this season.
All in all, I do think Bowman will find a trade partner. The question is how big of a swing he’ll take for the fences this time around.