With NHL Draft completed, what's next for Blackhawks?

With NHL Draft completed, what's next for Blackhawks?
June 29, 2014, 3:45 pm
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The Chicago Blackhawks made their first salary cap-related move on Saturday afternoon, trading Brandon Bollig to the Calgary Flames to get under the $69 million ceiling set for the 2014-15 season.

As they say in those infomercials, though, “But wait! There’s more!” What that more will be is what remains to be seen.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said “we’ve got some ideas” as he and the rest of the team’s brass left the 2014 NHL Entry Draft on Saturday. The Blackhawks aren’t over the cap anymore thanks to the Bollig trade but at about $700K under it, they’re still close to bumping their heads on the ceiling.

As for those ideas Bowman said the Blackhawks have, Bowman wasn’t getting too specific about them.

“We have several different possibilities that we’re going to pursue,” he said on Saturday. “I think every team has the same game plan where they have some ideas of players they want to add or things they want to do. And they’re not all going to happen but we’ll see where it goes.”

Here’s what we know is going to happen: Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will be signing those lengthy and lucrative extensions very soon. Bowman plays a lot of things close to the vest; he rarely divulges much. So when he told fellow scribe Mark Lazerus a few weeks ago that he’d like to get those deals done by July 1, the first day the two are eligible to sign new contracts, then it’s pretty likely they’ll be done by then.

[MORE: Bowman on Hawks' draft: 'We’re happy with the breadth of players']

Here’s what we’re pretty sure has to happen: whether the Blackhawks want to number centers or don’t want to number centers, they need to get another center. That means someone else is going bye-bye off the current roster – perhaps even more than one player. Bowman made it clear that Brandon Saad and Teuvo Teravainen, two who were rumored to be coveted by potential trade partners, were not for sale.

“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,” he said on Saturday. “They’re too important to what we’re doing.”

(Keep in mind, when asked if Patrick Sharp was on the block the past few days, Bowman said he wouldn’t address rumors.)

Anyway, for those panicking because the Blackhawks didn’t do much wheeling and dealing during the draft, relax. There are still some fish out there worth catching. Much will likely depend on what happens with Colorado center Paul Stastny; if he chooses to test the waters when free agency opens on Tuesday, he’ll have his share of suitors.

Plenty can still happen with the Blackhawks. There was plenty of talk at the draft, even if there weren’t plenty of deals. Bowman says he has some ideas. We’ll see how many of them turn into reality over the next several weeks.

“It’s my job to call and see what the options are. I’ve made contact with a number of people and we’ll see where it goes,” Bowman said. “I think every year there’s players that are useful and helpful in certain ways, and that’s the way we’re looking at it. We have a specific idea of what we’re looking for, but we’ll see if it comes to be.”

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