Blackhawks quiet on the trade front


Blackhawks quiet on the trade front

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman talked about the progress of some prospects during this weeks camp, how Brandon Saad has great potential this season, how Adam Clendening is among the top young defensemen in the system and how Teuvo Teravainen is going to be a special player.
But along the trade front, the talk has diminished.
It was a quiet week around the NHL in terms of trades. And while Bowman said that theres still talk going on, its not as frantic as 10 days ago.
Weve had discussions but a lot of teams are doing camps like we are. Teams across the league are focusing on this, Bowman said as the Blackhawks camp wrapped up on Friday. This is an important event for us and were dedicating a lot of time on it. There are still discussions, but its not like it was probably 10 days ago.
So now with camps ending, the talk will probably pick up again. There are still a few players who could be on the move this summer, from free agents like Shane Doan to those currently with contracts like Rick Nash, Bobby Ryan and Roberto Luongo. The Blackhawks are one of several teams who are interested in Doan, who could still re-sign with the Phoenix Coyotes if their ownership situation gets more settled.
Bowman said the Blackhawks have inquired about several players.
Weve talked to a number of players and were going to continue to do that. Any time we can improve our team, were going to look at it, be it free agency or trade, he said. But weve got a lot of good players here. Some of the kids may be ready to take the next step. Im not saying were not going to do anything else, but we do have a good group here.
Bowman reiterated the need to draft and develop well, and that helped the Blackhawks last season when they got key contributions from recent draftees such as Saad and Andrew Shaw. Saad, who played some center during Fridays scrimmage, is expected to push for a spot on the roster this fall. Shaw is expected to play a bigger role. Clendening, Bowman said, is probably the one (prospect) defenseman who has the most potential to make a jump. Its good for him to look at this year as a learning year, but also one he can make an impact for us.
Will the Blackhawks add anyone else this summer? Talk was quiet this week. But theres a lot of summer left. And with camps finishing, there should be more talking again.
Were in a good position, relative to some teams, he said. Weve got a good group of players, some of them already under contract and some of them are young and you can push them down if you have to. Its going to be a competitive camp even right now, without adding new players.

Five Things to watch: Blackhawks host Flames tonight on CSN

Five Things to watch: Blackhawks host Flames tonight on CSN

The Blackhawks (3-3, 6 points) take on the Calgary Flames (1-4-1, 3 points) on Monday, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins with Blackhawks Pregame Live at 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final horn to get analysis and player reaction on Blackhawks Postgame Live.

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— Latest on the Blackhawks: All of the most recent news and notes.

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1. Anisimov, Panik look to stay hot: Artem Anisimov and Richard Panik are both tied for fourth in the NHL in points with eight apiece. Panik has recorded at least one point in five of six games this season, including a hat trick in last week's win over the Predators and a game-tying goal against the Maple Leafs in the final minute of regulation. Anisimov has shaken off a slow start and recorded seven points in his last three games.

2. The Captain looks to light the lamp: Twelve different Blackhawks have scored a goal through six games. None of those players are named Jonathan Toews. The Captain has recorded two assists and actually leads the Blackhawks in penalty minutes (nine), and all 15 of his shots on goal - second on the team - have been stopped. The good news is Toews has 21 points in 31 career games against the Flames.

3. Johnny Hockey takes his talents to the Windy City: The 23-year-old All-Star might remind you of a certain No. 88 on the Blackhawks, and for good reason. The 5-foot-9, 157-pound Gaudreau was sixth in the NHL in points last season, and he led the Flames in goals, assists and points. He's got just three points in six games this season for the 1-5 Flames, but he's a candidate to make something happen in an instant whenever he's on the ice.

4. Former Blackhawks return to the UC: It'll be a small reunion of sorts for the Blackhawks and Flames on Monday night. Calgary currently has three former Blackhawks on its roster in Kris Versteeg, Troy Brouwer and Michal Frolik. Versteeg and Brouwer were part of the Blackhawks' 2010 Stanley Cup run, Frolik was on the squad in 2013, and Versteeg returned to the Madhouse in Madison in 2015.

5. Brian Elliott struggling with new squad: The last time the Blackhawks saw Brian Elliott he was leading the Blues to a Game 7 victory with 31 saves. He  hasn't found that same sort of success early in his first season with the Flames; he's 0-3 and has allowed 14 goals. He's likely to start in goal tonight against the Blackhawks.

Richard Panik fueling Blackhawks' top line

Richard Panik fueling Blackhawks' top line

Richard Panik was coming off his first career hat trick last week when he was asked about solidifying his spot on the top line with Jonathan Toews.

“I wouldn’t call it mine, for now,” Panik said.

The right wing’s hesitancy was understandable: Outside of some Blackhawks veterans, your place on a line is only as good as your last game.

But considering how he’s playing right now and the amount of goals he’s scored, you’d think Panik will be a top liner for a little while longer.

Panik scored the game-tying goals against his former team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, with 88 seconds remaining in regulation on Saturday night. There was probably a little feeling of vindication for Panik on that goal – Panik spent last season with the Leafs’ minor-league team until he was traded to the Blackhawks. But no matter the opponent, Panik’s been a scoring threat.

“We didn’t expect six goals in six games but we knew he’d be an offensive threat for us,” Toews said. “He’s showing consistently. He had the hat trick – when you have a game like that, the puck keeps finding you and he’s making no mistakes around the net. He’s shown he can score goals in any which way.”

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Part of the reason Panik’s back on the top line was the Blackhawks wanted to get more balance among the forwards. Marian Hossa, a longtime sight on that line, is on the third. But again, it’s all in what you do with the opportunity.

“The position he ended up being in was probably more so [for] being ready every game, consistent, doing the right things,” coach Joel Quenneville said after Saturday’s game. “He has all the tools we look for. He’s coming up with loose pucks, hanging around the net, going to the hard areas, giving us some physicality and finish as well. That was a big one, for sure, so he’s been a very pleasant start for us and for himself.”

The Blackhawks will always take goals no matter who scores them. But it’s how and from where Panik’s scoring those goals that’s especially good for the Blackhawks. Constantly looking for a net-front presence, Panik’s providing it. Most of his goals have been within a few feet of the net.

“Yeah, I’m just trying to find the space in front of the net and the goals are scored from there,” he said. “That’s the area I want to go to and it’s working.”

In six games Panik has already reached the totals he had in his 30 games with the Blackhawks last season (six goals, two assists). Panik approaches every game on the first line like it could be his last up there, and considering how often the Blackhawks change combinations that’s a smart approach. But the Blackhawks were looking for more consistent scoring on that top line, and as long as Panik helps provide that, he’ll stay put.

“Consistency was my biggest weakness. I’m just focusing on that, bringing it every night,” Panik said. “I think I know what I’m capable of. I know I can play on this level. Now I have an opportunity. I just have to take advantage of it and keep playing this way.”