For the first time in a long time, the Chicago Blackhawks have cap space flexibility - something they haven't had in years. However, what good is it to have money if no one is interested in taking it...
Not only did the team fail to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in nine seasons, they didn’t really even come close. The perennial Cup contenders ended the season with just 76 points. Clearly they felt the pinch of losing star players like Marian Hossa and Artemi Panarin, but the loss of goaltender Corey Crawford, out most of the season with post concussion symptoms, was perhaps the hardest blow.
And free agents have taken notes. According to Chris Kuc of The Athletic, it has become quite hard for the Blackhawks to lure free agents as it once was when they were a contender every season. General manager Stan Bowman now needs to look at the trade market more often to fill roster holes.
However, in the GM's annual press conference, Kuc points out that there is an evident lack of plan...
“There isn’t one thing that we need to do,” Bowman said. “I think we’re always trying to make our team better. We were able to add some new players at different positions already. As we go along, if there’s a player that’s going to make our team better then we’re going to pursue it.”
It is known around the National Hockey League that the Blackhawks are tight-lipped about the moves they are planning on making. However, it seems that for now, all attempts of making roster changes have failed.
Bowman and some devoted fans will argue the opposite, pointing out that the the Hawks added Chris Kunitz, Brandon Manning and Cam Ward via free agency.
However, is that enough? Probably not. Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook will need to have bounce back seasons... and Bowman needs to find a way to lure free agents and players back in Chicago...
And like Kuc concludes: we are "only late-July, so there is plenty of time before the season begins for Bowman to execute his plan.
Whatever that plan may be."