- Jesse Rogers, Chicago Cubs beat reporter
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said Tuesday that his team is dealing from a "position of strength" as the NHL heads into the meat of the offseason beginning with this weekend's entry draft in Pittsburgh.
After re-signing Brandon Bollig on Monday the Hawks have 23 players under contract who finished last season with the team or on injured reserve. Without any roster "holes" Bowman said he can concentrate on simply improving his team.
"If there are deals to be made we're not hesitant to do that," he said in a pre-draft conference call on Tuesday. "It has to be the right fit. There has been a lot of discussions over the last couple of weeks and I'm sure there will be even more leading up to Friday (the NHL draft), but it's not an objective to make a certain number of moves.
"We're always trying to improve our team and sometimes that's just keeping our picks and using them. Sometimes it's making moves, whether it's trading picks or players, so there has been a lot of discussions and we're open to that but also we're not counting on anything."
"(We're) dealing from a position of strength if we choose to make moves," Bowman said. "We don't have to make moves. We can kind of be selective in doing things that will improve our team going forward. It's hard to say at this point our team is going to be the exact same as it stands right now ... We're always talking and considering opportunities and if something makes us a better team then we'll pursue it. It's possible we'll make moves but we don't have to."
Bowman didn't rule out going after free agents though he admitted other moves might have to occur in order to bring a new player on board. He also said the salary cap should be in the range of $70 million as has been rumored though the current collective bargaining agreement between the owners and players expires in September.
The Hawks have been ousted in the first round of the playoffs the last two postseasons after winning the Stanley Cup in 2010.
Stan Bowman said Tuesday that his team is dealing from a "position of strength" as the NHL heads into the meat of the offseason.