Stan Bowman’s phone is usually active at this time of year, be it with him making calls or receiving them. It’s true again as he heads to the NHL Entry Draft, which is Friday and Saturday in Philadelphia.
The Chicago Blackhawks general manager has been doing his due diligence to test the waters, seeing what’s out there and what others need.
“Sometimes earlier in the week try to make calls to see where teams are, that leads to follow-up conversations,” he said on Thursday. “We’re still a day before the draft so there are a lot of things being tossed out there, most of which won’t come true.”
Let’s get to what is highly unlikely to be true. Forget about Patrick Sharp as being on the trading block; there’s just not enough out there to make it believable. No, Bowman didn’t want to talk rumors on Sharp – “it’s not a helpful process for anyone,” he said. He didn’t comment on the quotes Sharp’s agent, Rick Curran, gave several outlets on his client not going anywhere. Doesn’t matter; doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere.
Still, the Blackhawks have their needs. They’re getting shallow through the middle again, and whether it’s a second-line center or one for another line, it wouldn’t hurt to bolster their depth there. There are a few candidates out there, but it’s all about fit, be it with teammates or under the salary cap. Ryan Kesler is one of the big fishes, and TSN’s Darren Dreger reported earlier today that someone could win his services within the next 24 hours. Jason Spezza is out there, too, but it’ll also take quite a package to secure him. Paul Stastny interests the Blackhawks – problem is, he interests just about every other team, too.
Will the Blackhawks make a deal and bolster their roster, especially down the middle? Chances are they will. Yes, there are money considerations, especially with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane expected to sign lucrative extensions that will kick in during the 2015-16 season. The Blackhawks have done well despite not having a true No.-2 center for a few years now, but eventually you need to solidify more at that spot. This may be a good chance to do it.
As always the deal has to be right. But it only takes a phone call.
“There’s a lot of fielding calls but also checking with different GMs finding out their specific needs,” Bowman said. “You need to do your homework and be prepared.”