Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said Saturday he didn’t anticipate making any moves in the final trading days, but he did end up moving prospect Brandon Pirri to the Florida Panthers for draft picks on Sunday and acquired defensemen David Rundblad and Mathieu Brisebois from the Phoenix Coyotes for a second-round draft pick on Monday.
“We were not looking to do anything today,” Bowman said after the deadline passed on Wednesday afternoon. “I talked over the weekend that we made our big move earlier when we got Kris Versteeg and we’ve made some other minor moves in between. We actually were excited to acquire David Rundblad yesterday, but we weren’t looking to do anything else.
“With the way the cap situation is this year, every team is tight against the cap so in order to make moves you’re going to have trade money away, and we don’t have any players that we want to trade away. We’ve really accomplished a lot over the last couple of seasons with the group we have here, and we’re not looking to break it apart and try to bring in new players. If we can add to it, which we’ve been doing all year, by not trading away roster players from here that was always our objective.”
The Blackhawks did pull the trigger on a number of trades throughout this season which have given them NHL players. They added Versteeg from the Panthers in November. They traded for forward Peter Regin from the New York Islanders in February. Rundblad joined the Blackhawks for practice on Wednesday.
Aside from the few new faces, the Blackhawks are planning to make another run for the Stanley Cup with pretty much the same team they had last season. Nineteen players on this season’s team were part of last year’s Stanley Cup championship team.
Bowman said he believed his current team could repeat as Stanley Cup champions.
“That’s what we’re always focused on,” Bowman said. “No. 1, short term, we have to finish the season strong here. Can’t get ahead of yourselves because it’s a competitive division and conference we’re in. That’s where our focus is right now; can’t look too far down the road.
“There are a lot of components to our team similar to a year ago. Some of the younger players are better now than a year ago, and that’s exciting to see. We haven’t had any guys drop off and lose their talent the last six months. We have a group that understands what it takes to win, but you have to go out there and do it. We don’t take anything for granted. We expect to play hard next game and not get ahead of ourselves.”
Bowman said the Blackhawks weren’t involved in talks for any of the bigger names at the deadline.
“No, we were never in any of that,” Bowman said. “I always chuckle when I see the reports that we’re close to getting [some big names.] That’s the world we live in today. In order to do those things, you’d have to trade players away that are effective contributors to your team. Different this year with the salary cap being lower than it’s been in recent years. It causes you have to trade money to add money. We believe in our group here.”