When expectations are high, the fall is pretty hard when you mess up the landing. Everyone expected the Chicago Blackhawks to take on the free agent and trade markets and make the most of it, especially following a trade with the Arizona Coyotes last week that shipped out Marian Hossa's contract and brought back forward Marcus Kruger.
However, for now, it appears that the Hawks have put their offseason plans on hold for the time being as general manager Stan Bowman admitted Tuesday that the team is likely to wait until closer to training camp before potentially making more moves.
"That's probably the way it's going to be," Bowman said, according to NHL.com's Tracey Myers. "Each year teams have surprises, good and bad, in camp. I think our team's the same way. You have ideas on how your lines are going to look or how your players are going to be ready. There'll be some adjustments around the League, but probably not a lot of activity. If you look back the last couple of seasons, late July and August are quieter as far as transactions. There's the possibility of moves, but probably closer to training camp is more when changes may happen."
Let's just say this is not going down easy with fans.
The things is, according to the information provided by Cap Friendly, the Blackhawks have $5.49 million in cap space heading into next season, giving them the necessary room to bring in a player via trade or free agency if they so choose to get immediate help. Chicago has been linked to Montreal Canadiens Max Pacioretty and could still score the Habs forward seeing that his trade value has taken a hit since the Canadiens admitted to not wanting to re-sign him to a contract.
However, Bowman does not feel this way. The Hawks GM instead feels free to wait and isn't feeling pressure to make a move for the sake of it.
"Having cap space is an asset in and of itself, so things will come along maybe in the summer, maybe in the beginning part of the (season) where teams have a couple players that make their team unexpectedly that makes some other players more expendable," Bowman said.
"In the past, we probably haven't really been a good match for those types of situations because we didn't have the cap room at that time. So now we're going to be in the mix for those types of things. Whether we use it right away or whether we use it during the season, I think the nice thing is we have the flexibility now going into the coming years where we're going to need cap room, all that and more, to sign the young players."
Chicago is coming off its worst finish with a total of 76 points in a full 82-game season since 2006-07, when the club finished with just 31 wins. They missed the postseason for the first time in 10 years.
And that's the answer, Stan?!