Chicago Blackhawks: Stan Bowman

Challenge begins after Kane, Toews deals

July, 10, 2014
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Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman achieved Wednesday what he had been planning out for years and secured Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to lengthy contract extensions.

Unfortunately for Bowman, his job doesn't get any easier from here on out.

[+] EnlargeJonathan Toews
Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty ImagesPatrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have led the Blackhawks' resurgence with two Stanley Cups in five years.
Signing Kane and Toews for eight more years assured the Blackhawks of two superstars through the 2022-23 season. Add in what the Blackhawks have already done in signing Patrick Sharp, Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen through 2017, Niklas Hjalmarsson through 2019, Corey Crawford through 2020, Marian Hossa through 2021 and Duncan Keith through 2023, and the Blackhawks have nine strong pieces in place for their quest to win multiple Stanley Cups.

But as the Blackhawks have learned over the past five years, their elite players must be surrounded by quality depth and the right role players for them to hoist the Stanley Cup. They had that in 2010 and 2013 and succeeded. They didn't have that in 2011, 2012 and 2014, and they failed.

Bowman must now figure out how to keep the Blackhawks a perennial Stanley Cup contender while balancing a tight checkbook.

Kane and Toews could have gotten more money on the open market and could have squeezed more out of the Blackhawks, but their cap hits are still significant at a total of $21 million a season. The Blackhawks are already at $65,757,628 in salary cap payroll with 15 players signed for the 2015-16 season and around $52,707,628 with nine players signed for the 2016-17 season, according to capgeek.com. Even with the cap expected to increase in the coming years from where it's at now at $69 million, the Blackhawks won't have much financial wiggle room in the future.

Bowman's first task after completing the contracts for Kane and Toews is getting the Blackhawks cap-compliant for the upcoming season. The Blackhawks are around $1.3 million over cap, which would be more if Teravainen was included on the roster. Bowman has to trade at least one player to get under the cap.

Bowman's next goal will be re-signing Brandon Saad to an extension. Saad is set to become a restricted free agent after the 2014-15 season. Based on him being 21 and how he's developed so far, he could demand anywhere from $4 million to $6 million. The Blackhawks would like to knock that deal out before July 1, 2015, just in case another team would attempt to steal him away with a high-priced offer sheet.

Let's say Saad agrees to somewhere around $4.5 million to $5 million a season for two to four years. The Blackhawks would strengthen their core again, but that would leave even less money for the remainder of the roster. At some point, the Blackhawks will have to let some of their prized possessions go. Between Brent Seabrook, Marcus Kruger, Nick Leddy and Andrew Shaw, all players who worked their way up through the organization, the Blackhawks will eventually have to part with some of them because of cap restraints over the next two seasons. Down the line, they'll likely face the same difficult decisions with Sharp and Bickell. Not everyone will be able to retire as Blackhawks.

[+] Enlarge Brandon Saad
Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)Brandon Saad is set to become a restricted free agent after next season.
The Blackhawks do appear to be in a strong place with their prospect system. Teravainen is considered to be the real deal. Defensemen Adam Clendening, Stephen Johns and Klas Dahlbeck are all close to being NHL-ready. Forward Joakim Nordstrom surprised many and showed he could play in the NHL last season. Forwards Mark McNeill and Alex Broadhurst could also be around the corner based on their first pro seasons.

The Blackhawks are also hopeful Phillip Danault, Garret Ross and Ryan Hartman can get closer to the NHL in the next few seasons. Unlike the past few seasons where they have been able to let NHL-ready prospects such as Brandon Pirri, Jimmy Hayes, Dylan Olsen and Ryan Stanton depart for other teams, the Blackhawks will need similar players to remain in the organization and contribute at the NHL level.

The Blackhawks have benefited from drafting well in recent years. Bowman drafted top-6 forwards in Teravainen with the No. 18 overall pick in 2012 and in Saad with the No. 43 overall pick in 2011. They got draft steals in centers Shaw and Kruger with fifth-round picks. If they could somehow sign Kevin Hayes before the Aug. 15 deadline, that would be another late first-round pick who could be in the NHL in the next few years. Bowman will later need draft picks such as Tyler Motte, Vincent Hinostroza, Carl Dahlstrom, Nick Schmaltz and Robin Norell to continue to progress and be ready in the next three to six years to step in and be supporting players to Kane and Toews.

Bowman can be credited for putting the Blackhawks in a favorable position going forward with who he has signed and drafted, but he hasn't been without his missteps in recent seasons. Re-signing Michal Handzus after the Stanley Cup run, re-signing Michal Rozsival to a two-year deal, trading for Kris Versteeg this past season and signing Brandon Bollig to a contract extension are likely decisions Bowman would like to have back. Bickell's play next season will also determine whether Bowman made the right call on a four-year, $16 million extension on him after the 2013 season.

The Blackhawks won't be able to afford many mistakes in the future. They just won't have the cap space to fix them. They'll likely be up against the cap every year and won't have the luxury of attempting to add someone such as Ryan Kesler to a long-term deal this summer or obtaining a key player at the trade deadline. What they have in the NHL and AHL will be Bowman's main resources.

Bowman knows his legacy will ultimately be determined by how many more Stanley Cup banners are raised at the United Center. With the ink now dry on the extensions for Kane and Toews, Bowman's work begins now.

Opportunity likely awaits Hawks' Rundblad

July, 7, 2014
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Here's what you need to know about defenseman David Rundblad -- Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman attempted to trade for him multiple times over the last few seasons.

Bowman first tried during the 2013 season, and the Arizona Coyotes didn't budge. Bowman tried again last offseason, and the Coyotes again weren't interested. Finally, Bowman was able to obtain the 23-year-old Rundblad by trading a second-round pick in the 2014 draft for him and prospect defenseman Mathieu Brisebois on March 4.

Rundbland
Rundblad didn't get much of a chance to showcase his game after arriving to the Blackhawks. He played in just five regular-season games and was a healthy scratch throughout the playoffs. Considering what Bowman gave up to get him and how much Bowman values his upside, Rundblad is likely to see the ice more with the Blackhawks next season.

"I think he's an example of a young player who's ready for an opportunity," Bowman said recently at the NHL draft. "He's in that age bracket where he's 23, 24 years old. I think he just needs an opportunity for us. He's got a ton of talent. He's got a little more familiarity with our system now.

"It's tough when he came in at the trade deadline. He didn't get a lot of games, but everything is new in terms of how we play, what the coaches are looking for. Now he comes into training camp, he's way ahead of where he was back in March, so I would expect that to be a benefit for him. He understands the style of our team, what our coaches like and what they want him to do, and I think he's going to have a comfort level so it's good for a player like that to come in and have a chance."

The Blackhawks have seven defensemen, including Rundblad, signed for next season. If the roster remains the same heading into the season, Rundblad could rotate into the lineup just as Sheldon Brookbank and Michal Rozsival have done the past two seasons. Rozsival is also returning next season. Brookbank is an unrestricted free agent.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Rundblad plays a different game than Brookbank. Rundblad is best known for his offensive ability. He had 11 goals and 39 assists in 55 games in the Swedish Elite League during the 2010-11 season before arriving in the NHL.

Rundblad made his NHL debut for the Ottawa Senators during the 2011-12 season and has been up and down in the NHL and AHL since then. He's played in 55 NHL games and 86 AHL games over the past three seasons.

Rundblad was hopeful after joining the Blackhawks he would get a chance to play and eventually flourish.

"This is kind of a fresh start for me," Rundblad said in March. "I didn't really get a good opportunity in Phoenix. I felt like something had to happen because I need to play games."
While that didn't happen under Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville last season, Quenneville was optimistic Rundblad would play a larger role next season.

"He's part of our group," Quenneville said at the NHL draft. "He didn't get much of a chance, not much at all really. But there's some upside there. ... Hopefully we can get that out of him and get him stabilize where he can prove he can be a regular defenseman in our league."

Source: Hawks continue Kane, Toews talks

July, 4, 2014
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The Chicago Blackhawks, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are continuing to negotiate contract extensions and have not been delayed due to tagging space issues, according to a source on Friday night.

The NHL’s collective bargaining agreement does not permit teams to sign players to contract extensions which, when combined with their already committed salaries, would exceed the following season’s salary cap, which is set at the current cap limit of $69 million. Teams can sign players to extensions by using their current available cap space plus salaries to players who will become unrestricted and restricted free agents at the end of the season. The Blackhawks dealt with this issue while working to re-sign Kane, Toews and Duncan Keith to extensions in 2009.

The Blackhawks do not currently have any cap space for the 2014-15 season. They do have around $26 million of expiring contracts which they can devote to Kane’s and Toews’ contract extensions.

The Blackhawks are approximately $1.3 million over the cap for the upcoming season and will have to get under it before the season begins. If the Blackhawks trade someone who is set to become a free agent after the 2014-15 season, their tagging room will decrease.

The Blackhawks will also have to weigh whether they want to attempt to re-sign the eight other players who are set to become restricted and unrestricted free agents on July 1, 2015. Brandon Saad, Marcus Kruger, Nick Leddy and David Rundblad would become restricted free agents on that date, and Johnny Oduya, Peter Regin, Michal Rozsival and Brad Richards would be unrestricted free agents. Contract extensions given to those players before or during the season would also have to be created from the $26 million in expiring contracts.

Whether Kane and Toews ask for $9 million a season or somewhere closer to $12 million -- the number which they reportedly began the negotiations with -- can greatly impact whether the Blackhawks can work during the season to re-sign any of those other players, especially the 21-year-old Saad, who could demand $4-6 million per season in his next contract. Tuesday marked the first day Kane and Toews were eligible to sign extensions, and general manager Stan Bowman previously expressed hope that extensions could be done for the pair as early as then.

Bowman wouldn’t go into any details of negotiations with Kane’s and Toews’ agent, Pat Brisson, earlier in the week, but Bowman continued to be confident deals would be done for both players.

"As in terms of the negotiations, I think I’ve been pretty consistent in saying that I’m not going to comment on them other than it’s ongoing," Bowman said on Tuesday. "Nothing has changed from my original expectation that they’re both going to be signed. We’re looking forward to that."

Kane and Toews are expected to agree to matching contract extensions, as they did in 2009. They agreed to five-year, $31.5 million contracts back then.

Kane, 25, and Toews, 26, were both top-five draft picks by the Blackhawks and began their NHL careers in 2007. They have won two Stanley Cups together, been to six consecutive playoffs and reached four Western Conference finals. Kane has 178 goals and 315 assists in 515 career regular-season games, and Toews has 195 goals and 245 assists in 484 career games.

Negotiations ongoing for Kane, Toews

July, 1, 2014
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The Chicago Blackhawks made a splash with the signing of Brad Richards on Tuesday, but their biggest announcement is still yet to come.

Toews
Kane
The Blackhawks are still expected to sign Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to long-term extensions sometime in the near future.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman had hoped to do so as early as Tuesday, but that seemed unlikely as they weren't announced by the early evening. Bowman didn't waver Tuesday in his confidence the deals will be done soon.

“As in terms of the negotiations, I think I’ve been pretty consistent in saying that I’m not going to comment on them other than it’s ongoing,” Bowman said on Tuesday. “Nothing has changed from my original expectation that they’re both going to be signed. We’re looking forward to that.”

Tuesday marked the first day Kane and Toews could re-sign with the Blackhawks. Their current contracts don’t expire until after the 2014-15 season. Both players signed five-year, $31.5 million contracts in 2009.

Kane, 25, and Toews, 26, were both top-five draft picks by the Blackhawks and began their NHL careers in 2007. They have won two Stanley Cups together, been to six consecutive playoffs and reached four Western Conference finals. Kane has 178 goals and 315 assists in 515 career regular-season games, and Toews has 195 goals and 245 assists in 484 career games.

Richards solves second-line center issue

July, 1, 2014
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There will be no experimenting in the training camp. There will be no shuffling and re-shuffling of players. Patrick Kane won’t have to wonder who he is playing alongside on any given day.

The Chicago Blackhawks put an end to all those issues Tuesday by going out and finally addressing their greatest need. In signing Brad Richards to a one-year contract, the Blackhawks have themselves a true second-line center for the first time in a few years.

The Blackhawks were able to get by during their 2013 Stanley Cup season with variety of centers in the regular season and Michal Handzus in the playoffs. But they weren’t as fortunate this past season, and their lack of a consistent second-line center was one of their downfalls against the Los Angeles Kings -- a deep centermen team -- in the Western Conference finals.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville didn’t think the Blackhawks lack of a consistent second-line center was a problem the last few seasons, but he was honest about the Kings’ depth at the position just last week.

“I think [having many second-line centers has] been going on almost every year I’ve been here,” Quenneville said at the NHL draft Friday. “It’s not an issue with me. I just think if you can better your team [you do]. You know we played against a team in L.A. down the middle who had four great centermen with great experience. That helped their hockey club.”

Having four experienced centermen should benefit the Blackhawks in that same way. They’ll have Jonathan Toews, one of the league’s best two-way players, on the top line. They’ll add an experienced center in Richards on the second line. Andrew Shaw can return to centering the third line and continue providing offensive and defensive reliability there. Marcus Kruger can remain being one of the league’s top fourth-line centers. They’ll also have depth at center with Teuvo Teravainen and Peter Regin.

“It was important for us to try to get some depth at that position,” Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said on Tuesday. “Obviously Brad is more than depth. He’s an established, experienced player. I just think you can never have too many guys who can play in the middle.”

Richards’ arrival should benefit Kane the most. Kane played alongside six different centers last season. He still produced at an elite level despite that, but having some of Richards’ ability on a full-time basis should allow Kane to elevate his game further.

Richards understood what it meant for himself as well.

“When you look at the opportunity to play here, it’s pretty exciting because you know that if you’re playing center on the top two lines, you’re playing with a great player, probably two great players actually,” Richards said on Tuesday. “It wasn’t hard for me to love Chicago. It was just trying to figure out how to get it to work in the cap.

“I’ve watched these guys play the last 6-7 years. Patrick Kane is one of the most explosive players in the league. It’s not just him. It’s a great group that’s been together and knows how to win. When you get a chance to maybe team up with one of those players on a line, whoever is on your line, it makes you feel pretty excited. I can’t wait to get to work and try to make it a great experience for everybody.”

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GM: Saad, Teravainen not available for trade

June, 28, 2014
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PHILADELPHIA -- The Chicago Blackhawks’ list of untouchables is growing.

While Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman is open to trading with other teams in the coming weeks, there are a handful of players he won’t even discuss moving. That list would start with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, and Bowman included two of the organization’s youngest players, Brandon Saad and Teuvo Teravainen, in that mix as well Saturday.

“No, [I won’t listen to offers for Saad and Teravainen,]” Bowman said at the NHL draft Saturday. “Part of the reason we’re able to reach the level that we have as a team and sustain it is we’ve kept our young players, and we’re not going to change that philosophy. They’re too important to what we’re doing. It would be detrimental to them. Not only are they young, but they’re talented players. It would be hard to replace their ability as well their age and contract status and all that.”

Saad, 21, completed his second NHL season this past season. He had 19 goals, 28 assists and was a plus-20 in 78 regular-season games. He played at his best in the Western Conference finals and had four goals and five assists in seven games against the Los Angeles Kings. He’s set to become a restricted free agent after the 2014-15 season.

Teravainen, 19, has only appeared in three NHL games, but he’s already created a massive buzz. He starred in Finland’s Liiga last season and came over to Chicago to make his NHL debut late last season. He’s considered the Blackhawks’ top prospect and has a high-end offensive game. His entry-level contract will officially begin next season.

Hawks aim for distant future in draft's Day 2

June, 28, 2014
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PHILADELPHIA -- The Chicago Blackhawks focused on their long-term future in the second day of the NHL draft Saturday.

The Blackhawks drafted seven players who are headed to college in the next two years and two European players.

“We didn’t have a number in mind [for college players,] but in general you have a little more time with those players,” Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said after the draft at the Wells Fargo Center. “You have four or five years. Some of them don’t even go to college right away.

“It’s tougher when you have a two-year window to sign a guy, you’re picking later on in the draft, sometimes they don’t define themselves by that second year and then you’ve got to make a decision -- do you sign them or not? And you lose their rights after two years.

“I think for us we’ve got a pretty full pipeline right now of young players, some have graduated to the pro level, some are rounding that point where they have a year left. The guys we draft today are further away. But we like that element of the fact that just because you have a player for four years, you don’t have to leave him there all four, but you have a little more control over it and you have more time to see which guys are going to become players.”

The Blackhawks acquired the No. 83 overall pick from the Calgary Flames in exchange for forward Brandon Bollig. The Blackhawks selected right wing Matheson Iacopelli with the pick. Iacopelli had 41 goals, 23 assists and was a plus-12 in 58 games for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League last season. He is committed to play at Western Michigan in 2015.

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GM still confident in signing Kane, Toews

June, 28, 2014
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Jonathan ToewsRob Grabowski/USA TODAY SportsGM Stan Bowman said again that the Hawks will definitely re-sign Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
PHILADELPHIA -- Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has been consistent in his message about re-signing forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to contract extensions, and that didn’t change Friday.

Bowman said again Friday the Blackhawks would definitely re-sign Kane and Toews, and he hoped to have their long-term deals done by early as July 1, the first day they’re able to sign new contracts

“Well, yeah, [we hope to have it done by July 1,]” Bowman said on the first day of the NHL draft Friday. “The discussions are ongoing. I don’t want to get into that. We’re definitely going to get them re-signed. It’s a process you go through. It’s been a great process. Like I said, I got a lot of respect for [their agent] Pat Brisson. He’s the top agent in the game, and we’re working on it.”

Kane and Toews agreed to identical five-year contract extensions in 2009. Those contracts will expire after the 2014-15 season.

Kane and Toews reportedly asked for $12 million each per season when negotiations recently began, but a source told ESPN’s Craig Custance the two players aren’t looking to diminish the Blackhawks’ future Stanley Cup hopes by asking for astronomical figures.

“They always want to win,” the source told Custance.

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Hawks still looking into offseason options

June, 27, 2014
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Jason Spezza, Paul StastnyAP PhotoCenters Jason Spezza, left, and Paul Stastny could be among the Blackhawks' offseason targets.

PHILADELPHIA -- The Chicago Blackhawks struck out Friday in their first attempt to acquire another top-six center, but Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman might not be done trying just yet.

The Blackhawks attempted to pry Ryan Kesler from the Vancouver Canucks on Friday, but were beaten out by the Anaheim Ducks, who sent forward Nick Bonino, defenseman Luca Sbisa and their first- and third-round draft choices to Vancouver. Canucks general manager Jim Benning said the Blackhawks were “right in it until the end.”

Bowman wouldn’t comment on missing out on Kesler, but he didn’t rule out the Blackhawks going after other players this offseason. Chicago has also been reported to be interested in Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza and unrestricted free-agent center Paul Stastny.

“I don’t think it’s helpful to talk about the talks,” Bowman said Friday of the Kesler trade. “You know he’s in Anaheim now. We’re not going to comment on the whole process. I don’t think there’s a lot of benefit in that.

“There’s a lot of options we have as we look over the next couple weeks. There’s free agency coming up. There’s trades. There’s a lot of things that can change between now and October. I think I’ve been pretty consistent in saying we believe in our team, and we believe in the options we have from within. If there’s other ways to improve the team through a trade or free agency, we’ll look at it, too.

"We’ve got a great group. The core group of our team has accomplished an awful lot over the last five years, this year included. You’re never happy when you don’t get the whole way. You have to recognize you’re close. There’s a lot of ways to improve your team leading into next year. We’re going to keep working at it, and we’ll be ready to go in October."

The Ducks and Nashville Predators, two of the Blackhawks’ Western Conference rivals, felt they improved their teams Friday. The Ducks added Kesler, while the Predators acquired goal scorer James Neal from the Pittsburgh Penguins for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling.

Bowman said he wasn’t concerned about what other teams in the conference were doing. He said he doesn’t compare the Blackhawks that way.

“There was a lot of talk this year when the [St. Louis] Blues went and acquired [Steve] Ott, [Ryan] Miller,” Bowman said. “That must mean that you've got to go do something. We don’t approach it that way. When one team does something, it may work for them, it may not.

“We’re not trying to respond to what other people do. We've got to look at what we do well and what works for us. It’s a puzzle to put together. But I don’t think it’s helpful to be reactionary. We got our own situation. We’re going to work at that.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was on the same page with Bowman on Friday. Quenneville said the Blackhawks would look to improve their team if possible, but he wasn’t worried about their situation at second-line center, a position at which they have used a number of different players in the past few seasons. He did note that the Los Angeles Kings, the team that eliminated the Blackhawks in the Western Conference finals, happened to be deep at the position.

“We played against a team in L.A. down the middle who had four great centermen with great experience,” Quenneville said. “That helped their hockey club.

“We always talk about any way we can improve our hockey club. There are things you look at. We always have the discussion. We’re asked quite regularly who’s going to play in that [second-line center] spot. Who is going to be the second-line center? Who is the second-line center? As we go along here, we’re always comfortable with our options. If we can improve ourselves in that area, I’m sure that’s what we’re looking to do.”

Bowman accomplished a portion of his offseason goals Friday by re-signing forwards Jeremy Morin and Ben Smith and goaltender Antti Raanta to two-year deals. All three players were set to become restricted free agents July 1.

Bowman said he hasn’t decided whether the Blackhawks would attempt to re-sign defenseman Sheldon Brookbank and forward Peter Regin. Both will become unrestricted free agents July 1.

The Blackhawks might have to shed some salary in the offseason. The NHL announced Friday the salary cap would be $69 million for 2014-15, and Chicago is already about $500,000 above that number, according to capgeek.com.

Bowman said he wasn’t concerned about fitting under the salary cap.

“It’s about right where we thought, right where I thought,” Bowman said. “I remember months ago when everyone was all excited about the number, and I told you guys let’s wait and see where it is, be more cautious. We’ve kind of been expecting it to be right around this range. I wasn’t really surprised.

"We got an idea what we’re going to do going forward leading into next summer, this summer. We got a lot of decisions to make, but I’m confident we’re going to be in a good spot in October.”

In Nick Schmaltz, Hawks draft a lifelong fan

June, 27, 2014
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Nick SchmaltzBruce Bennett/Getty ImagesThe Blackhawks took center Nick Schmaltz at No. 20, trading picks with San Jose to move up.

PHILADELPHIA -- The Chicago Blackhawks have been in the business of making childhood dreams come true in the past few NHL drafts.

Having taken Illinois native and Blackhawks fan Ryan Hartman in the first round in 2013, the Blackhawks selected Madison, Wisconsin, native and lifelong Hawks fan Nick Schmaltz with the No. 20 overall pick of the 2014 draft Friday.

“I’ve always been a Blackhawks fan,” said the 18-year-old Schmaltz, whose Twitter account already included a profile picture of him wearing a Blackhawks shirt prior to the draft. “It’s been a dream ever since Day 1. I’m kind of lost for words right now.”

The Blackhawks assured themselves of getting Schmaltz, a 5-foot-11, 172-pound center, by moving up Friday in the draft. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman dealt the Nos. 27 and 62 picks to the San Jose Sharks for their Nos. 20 and 179 selections.

Bowman’s fear was that the St. Louis Blues would take Schmaltz with the No. 21 overall pick because his older brother Jordan was already a Blues prospect. St. Louis took Jordan Schmaltz with the No. 25 overall pick in 2012.

“We like Nick,” Bowman said. “We’ve been really following him starting last August, the first tournament of the year over in Slovakia. He was probably the best player in the tournament. He opened up our eyes back then, and we followed him closely all year.

“When we saw him available, we were calling around just to see who might be willing to trade their pick to us. It worked out with San Jose.”

Schmaltz played this past season for the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League. He had 18 goals and 45 assists in 55 games. He plans to join Jordan at the University of North Dakota next season.

ESPN NHL draft and prospects analyst Corey Pronman ranked Schmaltz as the No. 30 prospect in the draft. “Nick's puck skills and pure creativity allow him to make a lot of defenders miss, and create scoring chances at times when it doesn't look like there is an opportunity," Pronman wrote. "Schmaltz has pretty good possession skills as well.”

Schmaltz described himself as a playmaking center and named Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane as his favorite player. Schmaltz said he has attended Blackhawks games throughout his life and was at two playoff games this past season.

Schmaltz is also quite familiar with the Chicago area. He spent five years in the Chicago Mission hockey program and would make the 2½-hour drive from Madison to Chicago three times a week during his seasons.

As much as Schmaltz enjoyed his moment Friday, he said he understood what was ahead of him.

“There’s 30 guys in the world that are going in the first round, so it’s a pretty big accomplishment,” Schmaltz said. “But like I said, now the real work starts.”

Hawks season reviews: Stan Bowman

June, 27, 2014
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Stan BowmanAP Photo/Nam Y. HuhStan Bowman has a lot of work to do this summer as the Hawks look to get back to the Cup finals.

Stan Bowman, general manager


Season recap: The difference between looking like a genius and failing can sometimes be cruel for general managers. The Blackhawks were a goal away from reaching another Stanley Cup finals and getting the opportunity to attempt to win back-to-back Cups. That's where the bar is now for the franchise and because that didn't happen some of the blame has to fall on Bowman.

Bowman decided after winning the 2013 Stanley Cup he was going to make a run at another title by only tinkering slightly with his team and coming back with nearly the same roster. He re-signed unrestricted free agents Michal Handzus and Michal Rozsival. He traded away Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik. He created some cap space in order to give Corey Crawford, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Bryan Bickell long-term deals and emphasized wanting to turn to some of the organization's prospects to fill some holes, including second-line center.

Bowman's strategy didn't go according to plan. Handzus and Rozsival couldn't maintain the consistency they gave the Blackhawks during their Cup run. Bolland and Frolik weren't so easy to replace. Second-line center continued to be a revolving door throughout the season. Brandon Pirri, Jeremy Morin and Jimmy Hayes, three prospects who were expected to make the jump to the NHL, couldn't stick in Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville's lineup. Pirri and Hayes ended up being traded.

Also unlike the previous season, Bowman wasn't able to improve the team with a trade. He added Handzus in 2013, and that worked out well in the playoffs. Bowman touted trading for Kris Versteeg in November as his major move this past season, and Versteeg wasn't the player they expected him to be coming off a serious knee injury. He was inconsistent in the regular season and was a healthy scratch at times in the playoffs. Bowman also acquired Peter Regin from the New York Islanders, but Quenneville used him sparingly.

Of course, Bowman also deserves credit for the Blackhawks already winning two Stanley Cups and being in a position to win more down the road. Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw, two of Bowman's draft picks, continued to develop last season and should be key pieces going forward. Bowman's commitment to growing players within the organization has also paid off with Ben Smith, Marcus Kruger, Nick Leddy, Bickell, Hjalmarsson, Crawford and others.

Season highlight: The Blackhawks came together late in the regular season and into the playoffs. They were playing some of their best hockey during the first two rounds of the playoffs. Repeating seemed realistic then, and Bowman was being praised for that.

Season lowlight: Versteeg, Brandon Bollig, Morin and Regin being healthy scratches in the playoffs had to be disappointing for Bowman. He traded for Versteeg and Regin. He signed Bollig to a three-year extension during the season. Morin has been considered one of the organization's top prospects.

Final grade: B.

Quotes: "There's lots of opinions at this time of year and that's understandable," Bowman said after the season. "What we need to do is stick true to what we've done in the past. We certainly know our team very well. We understand the strengths of our team and that hasn't really changed over time.

"We play a fast game. We have a lot of skilled players. To get big just to say you're big and look at the score sheet before every game and maybe you have bigger players, but they have to be able to play the way we play, play to our strengths.

"There will be some new faces coming next year. I think the most important thing for us is to maintain that same style of play. It's been successful for us obviously the last few seasons. Looking forward, we're not going to deviate because that's what the core of our team does well. We're going to try and accentuate that whether it's with bigger players or making a couple additions here or there. There are a lot of options."

What's next: Bowman's priority now is re-signing Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to extensions. Bowman has been confident all along he'll be able to do that. After that, the Blackhawks do have to make some decisions for next season. They still don't have an answer at second-line center. Teuvo Teravainen, the organization's top prospect, could be the answer, but the Blackhawks are reportedly inquiring about other proven centers around the league. Bowman accomplished re-signing forward Ben Smith and goaltender Antti Raanta on Friday. Both should be key role players again next season.

Bowman has committed to Versteeg and Bollig for future seasons, and the Blackhawks will need them to be better, especially in the playoffs. Bowman and the Blackhawks would also benefit if Bickell could be more consistent next season. Bowman expected him to be more than a playoff performer at $4 million a year. Along with everything else, Bowman has the job of managing the cap and making sure the Blackhawks are in a position to win now and in the future. So far, he appears to be on track to do that.

Hawks weighing options entering draft

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26
4:58
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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PHILADELPHIA -- Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said Thursday he has been busy making and taking calls over the last week.

He just isn't sure what it will all mean come Friday night when the NHL draft begins in Philadelphia.

[+] EnlargeRyan Kesler
AP Photo/Chris SzagolaThe Hawks are reportedly one of two frontrunners to land Ryan Kesler if the Canucks decide to trade him.
"We're still a day before the draft, so there's a lot of things being tossed out as options, most of them which will not come true," Bowman said on a conference call on Thursday. "But you sort of need to do your homework and be prepared, so that you're in the game or in the know when things do start to break. I think there's a lot of fielding calls, but also checking in with different general managers to find out what their specific needs are."

Bowman has been active at times during the draft in the past. Just last season during the draft, he traded Dave Bolland to the Toronto Maple Leafs for draft picks, dealt Michael Frolik to the Winnipeg Jets for draft picks, swapped draft picks with the San Jose Sharks and announced a new deal for Bryan Bickell.

The Blackhawks could be in the market for a second-line center. They have been linked to talks with the Vancouver Canucks about Ryan Kesler and the Ottawa Senators about Jason Spezza. They have also reportedly been in touch with unrestricted free agent Paul Stastny's agent.

Bowman said they've been balancing possible trades and preparing for the draft. The Blackhawks have eight picks in the seven-round draft.

"We've been here for a few days already making lots of phone calls," Bowman said. "There's really a dual purpose to this time of year. Our amateur draft is exclusively focused on getting prepare for [Friday]. We talk a lot about players who we think will be available and moving them around and meeting with players. There's a good chunk of our time doing that.

"The other side of it is this is when there's a lot of movement. There's a lot of phone calls made to other general managers, agents and whatnot. In terms of a percentage, I don't know what it is. It's probably close to 50 percent. I've been very busy the last few day trying to prepare on both fronts."

The Blackhawks aren't necessarily searching for immediate-impact players in the draft. With the players they have signed in the NHL and others on the cusp of the NHL, the Blackhawks will be using this year's draft to prepare for their long-term future. It could be a lot like last year's draft where they selected four players who were just entering college and four 19-year-old European defensemen.

"We have a pretty good pipeline of players at different levels of involvement right now," Bowman said. "There's some players in Rockford who are right on the doorstep of being NHL players. There's probably another grouping that are maybe a year away. Then we've got other players who are still in college or Europe that are a couple years away.

"The players we're looking at for this year we're OK that they may not be right on the doorstep of being ready because we've got a pretty good pipeline we've been able to build up. We're hoping to maybe take some players who we know will take some development time. That's OK for us."

Blackhawks draft review: 2012 class

June, 25, 2014
Jun 25
1:05
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
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Teuvo TeravainenBill Smith/Getty ImagesTeuvo Teravainen saw action in three games with the Blackhawks in March.
Stan Bowman will enter his fifth draft as the Chicago Blackhawks general manager later this week. Leading up to the 2014 NHL draft on Friday, we'll take a look at each of Bowman's first four draft classes, analyze how he's done so far in his tenure and glance ahead to where he may look to improve the Blackhawks in this year's draft.

The series continues Wednesday with the Blackhawks' 2012 draft:


Teuvo Teravainen, forward, first round, No. 18 overall: Teravainen has the potential to be an elite offensive player in the NHL. He's already excelled in Finland at a young age and got a taste of the NHL this past season. He's expected to start next season with the Blackhawks.

Dillon Fournier, defenseman, second round, No. 48 overall: The Blackhawks signed Fournier to a three-year entry deal this past season. He was playing well until he was injured in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this season.

Chris Calnan, forward, third round, No. 79 overall: Calnan completed his freshman season at Boston College this year. He had four goals and nine assists in 37 games.

Garret Ross, forward, fifth round, No. 139 overall: Ross had a solid first professional season with 15 goals, 19 assists and he was a plus-12 in 74 games with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL.

Travis Brown, defenseman, fifth round, No. 149 overall: The Blackhawks did not sign Brown. He had 53 points and was a minus-12 in 71 games in the Western Hockey League last season.

Vincent Hinostroza, forward, sixth round, No. 169 overall: Hinostroza had a strong freshman season at Notre Dame with eight goals, 24 assists and a plus-six rating in 34 games. He was third on the Irish in points.

Brandon Whitney, goaltender, seventh round, No. 191 overall: The Blackhawks did not sign Whitney. He suffered a serious throat injury this past season. He was 13-18-7 with a 3.25 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Matt Tomkins, goaltender, seventh round, No. 199 overall: Tomkins missed some time due to an injury as a freshman at Ohio State this past season. He went 6-7-2 with a 2.78 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 17 game.

Draft outlook: The Blackhawks will feel great about this draft if Teravainen is the real deal, especially getting him at No. 18. It's still early to tell about most of the other players. Ross and Fournier are further along than most. Not signing Brown and Whitney aren't huge deals because where they were drafted. Calnan, Hinostroza and Tomkins showed some potential as freshmen.

Blackhawks draft review: 2010 class

June, 23, 2014
Jun 23
11:29
AM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Stan Bowman enters his fifth draft as the Chicago Blackhawks general manager later this week. Leading up to the first day of the 2014 NHL draft on Friday, we'll take a look at each of Bowman's first four draft classes, analyze how he's done so far in his tenure and glance ahead to where he may look to improve the Blackhawks in this year's draft.

This week's series begins with the Blackhawks' 2010 draft:


[+] EnlargeKevin Hayes
AP Photo/Mike CarlsonKevin Hayes doesn't appear likely to sign with the Blackhawks.
Kevin Hayes, forward, first round, No. 24 overall: Hayes has progressed over the past four years at Boston College, but that likely won't benefit the Blackhawks. After being a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award this past season, he appears set to turn down the Blackhawks' offer and opt to become an unrestricted free agent in August. That would be a disappointment for the Blackhawks.

Ludvig Rensfeldt, forward, second round, No. 35 overall: The Blackhawks did not sign Rensfeldt. He played last season in Sweden.

Justin Holl, defenseman, second round, No. 54 overall: The Blackhawks appear as if they're going to pass on signing Holl. He finished his college career this past season at Minnesota and didn't develop as the Blackhawks had hoped.

Kent Simpson, goaltender, second round, No. 58 overall: Simpson is the highest pick Bowman has used on a goaltender. It's still early to gauge where the 22-year-old Simpson will be in the future, but he struggled in his first full season in the AHL this past year. The Blackhawks previously used a second-round pick on Corey Crawford.

Stephen Johns, defenseman, second round, No. 60 overall: If the Blackhawks can't sign Hayes, Johns likely will be the marquee player in this draft for the Blackhawks. He had a strong four years at Notre Dame and is projected to be in the NHL in the next few seasons.

Joakim Nordstrom, forward, third round, No. 90 overall: Nordstrom is the early surprise for the Blackhawks in this class. He played in 23 NHL games, including seven playoff games, this past season as a rookie. He should add to the Blackhawks' NHL depth going forward.

Rob Flick, forward, fourth round, No. 120 overall: Flick played nearly two seasons in the minors for the Blackhawks being dealt to the Boston Bruins for forward Max Sauve. The Blackhawks did not re-sign Sauve after the 2012-13 season.

[+] EnlargeJoakim Nordstrom
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesJoakim Nordstrom played in 23 games as a rookie with the Blackhawks this season.
Mirko Hoefflin, forward, sixth round, No. 151 overall: The Blackhawks did not sign Hoefflin. He played last season in Germany.

Nick Mattson, defenseman, sixth round, No. 180 overall: Mattson finished up his junior year at North Dakota this past season. He had four goals, 19 assists and a plus-8 rating in 40 games. The Blackhawks like his development.

Mac Carruth, goaltender, seventh round, No. 191 overall: Aside from Simpson, Bowman has mostly selected goaltenders late in drafts over the past four years. The Blackhawks are hoping one develops over time and can either back up Crawford or eventually be his replacement. Carruth had some ups and downs in his first professional season. He spent most of it in the ECHL.

Draft outlook: This had the potential to be a solid draft class for Bowman if Hayes signed. It would have given the Blackhawks three likely NHL players in Hayes, Johns and Nordstrom. The fact Hayes isn't likely to sign at this point certainly lessens the draft and means Bowman's first three picks as general manager turned into nothing for the Blackhawks. With five selections in the first 60 picks, the Blackhawks were hopeful for more out of this draft. Johns has the potential to be a top defenseman, and Nordstrom's quick development is also a positive for the Blackhawks.

Bowman: No big roster changes coming

June, 3, 2014
Jun 3
5:11
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman hasn’t changed his mind about his core group.

Bowman said Tuesday he doesn’t plan on making many changes to the Blackhawks’ roster in the offseason after his team lost in the Western Conference finals to the Los Angeles Kings this season and failed to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

“I don’t think we’re going to have wholesale changes. That certainly isn’t warranted at this point,” Bowman said. “Our team performed very well in most areas of the game. Ways to improve would be certain players are going to be looking growth from within. We’ve still got lot of young players that play big roles on our team, and I think you saw that this year.”

Nineteen of the 26 players on the Blackhawks’ playoff roster are signed for next season. Bowman said he hoped to re-sign restricted free agents Jeremy Morin, Ben Smith and Antti Raanta. Unrestricted free agents Sheldon Brookbank, Michal Handzus, Peter Regin and Nikolai Khabibulin are not expected to be re-signed. Prospect Teuvo Teravainen is also expected to be included in the Blackhawks’ mix next season.

Bowman thought a few new players could be added before next season, but he expressed that the Blackhawks’ identity wasn’t going to be altered.

“There will be some new faces coming next year,” Bowman said. “I think the most important thing for us is to maintain that same style of play. It’s been successful for us obviously the last few seasons. Looking forward, we’re not going to deviate because that’s what the core of our team does well. We’re going to try and accentuate that , whether it’s with bigger players or making a couple additions here or there. There are a lot of options.”

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was also confident the team’s current group could continue to compete for Stanley Cups. Seven current Blackhawks played key roles in their Stanley Cup championships in 2010 and 2013, and 16 current players were significant contributors to just the 2013 title.

“To be honest with you, I love our group,” Toews said. It’s a great group of guys and the guys that have been here for a while and will be here for another extended period of time, those are the guys that are the leaders in our room, the main reasons we’ve had so much success the last few years.

“And I think we’ve just done such a great job with some of those other guys, especially young guys that have a lot of that potential to bring that similar character and same similar leadership to our team are learning a lot from going through series like we just did and even winning a championship last year.

“Like I said, there’s so much potential with the group we have right now. Even the guys that have done it before, this feeling of losing -- even if you won two Stanley Cups already -- to feel this is something completely different and you learn from it and grow from it, so I think as a group we’re all going to do that. I think there’s a long ways for us to grow and get better.”

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26