With the start of the 2013-14 campaign just weeks away, the Blackhawks will be entering the upcoming season as defending Stanley Cup champions with most of the members of their winning team on their roster.
Unlike the summer of 2010 -- when nearly half the team was dismantled following their big victory -- general manager Stan Bowman has spent this offseason continuing to lock up players to potentially create the NHL's first cap-era dynasty.
NHL.com's Dan Rosen took a look at what Bowman has accomplished and spoke with NHL Network analyst Craig Button on the strong potential the Blackhawks have moving forward.
"(Bowman) continues to keep the core of his team together and he's got good contracts," Button told NHL.com. "I think they're in position now to be that team for the next five, six, maybe seven years, somewhere in that range, that is in the conversation as Stanley Cup contenders. Can they win two, three, four, five? I don't know. But I do know that they're positioned perfectly."
Following the recent signings of Corey Crawford and Niklas Hjalmarsson, the Blackhawks now have 14 players from the 2013 championship team signed through the next two seasons. Both Andrew Shaw and Michal Handzus each have one year remaining on their current contracts.
Bowman's upcoming big tasks will be securing Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, but with the lockout behind us, an increase in league-wide revenues should be enough to provide both players with pay increases after the 2014-15 season.
"The biggest thing about Stan is he's not caught up in what could be or chasing anything," Button said. "He's got a really measured approach. Too many times, people chase things. There's no question in my view that the cap is going to go up, so [contracts for] Toews and Kane will become -- I don't want to say easier -- but ones he can accomplish."
But the type of success the Blackhawks hope to experience goes beyond their current roster. As the team prepares for training camp, a number of young players will be fighting for playing time inside the United Center and want that chance to be part of the Blackhawks' dynasty. But as Bowman has proved in the past, there's no need to rush them.
"We have a lot of guys in Rockford who are ready for the NHL," Brandon Bollig told CSNChicago.com at the Blackhawks Convention. "When the time comes they'll be ready, and they'll be fighting for a spot at training camp. We're confident in them and know they can do big things for us in the future."