Blackhawks unlikely to change roster

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Blackhawks unlikely to change roster

The Chicago Blackhawks were finally back together on Sunday, opening up a training camp that was long overdue. The faces are familiar, be it the guys who have been here for years or the Rockford players who made a splash in the second half of last season.

Like the way the roster looks? Whether you do or not, its unlikely to change.

Signing and announcing free agents began at 11 p.m. Central Sunday night, two hours after the lockout officially ended. But on Monday general manger Stan Bowman didnt sound like he would be in a dealing mood, at least not right now.

Its possible but its unlikely, said Bowman at a post-practice press conference at the United Center. At this point we feel really strong with the depth we do have. We have to see how it plays out. I certainly like the guys who have been playing in Rockford; theyre in midseason form. Weve got quite a few guys who are ready to play and the other guys have been training as well. Personnel-wise we have the pieces we like.

It wasnt a surprise answer, really. The Blackhawks made a few moves to bolster their defense during the summer months, picking up Sheldon Brookbank and Michal Roszival. Otherwise, outside of swinging for the fences with Zach Parise and inquiring about goaltender Martin Brodeur, they were relatively quiet.

Both Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville were touting their upcoming Rockford talent, and figure they can get what they need from within. Andrew Shaw and Brandon Bollig, who impressed last year, were practicing with the Blackhawks today. So was Marcus Kruger. Three more Rockford players Brandon Saad, Brandon Pirri and Ryan Stanton were expected to be here for Tuesdays practice.

Organizationally, our depth is in place, Quenneville said. Up front, there are a number of (Rockford) guys we saw last year that could play on our team today. They could make decisions this week interesting. Weve added depth on the back end that improved the team, we have size and presence back there, and we look forward to that over the course of the season. We feel were strong in a lot of the areas that depth is going to get challenged.

The season will be starting soon enough. And with its anticipated fast-and-furious pace, the Blackhawks will know right away if they have to do something to alter their roster or not. But for now, theyre content with what they have.

We have to see how it happens when the games start being played, Bowman said Were strong in the different areas Joel referenced. Were excited to see how it looks once we start playing. We want to see what this group can do first.

Michal Rozsival, Jordin Tootoo extensions give Blackhawks flexibility at expansion draft

Michal Rozsival, Jordin Tootoo extensions give Blackhawks flexibility at expansion draft

The Blackhawks agreed to one-year contract extensions with defenseman Michal Rozsival and forward Jordin Tootoo, the team announced Tuesday.

Rozsival's deal is worth $650,000 while Tootoo's deal carries a $700,000 cap hit, according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.

The move gives the Blackhawks two players eligible to be exposed during this summer's expansion draft.

NHL teams must expose two forwards and one defenseman that have played at least 40 games in 2015-16 or more than 70 in 2016-17, and they must be under contract in 2017-18.

[MORE: The Blackhawks' 9-1 February by the numbers]

Rozsival and Tootoo meet those requirements, which means the Blackhawks can now protect Ryan Hartman, who is also eligible.

They are allowed to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or eight skaters (regardless of position) and one goaltender. 

Rozsival, 38, has one goal and one assist in 16 games this season, often serving as the team's extra defenseman. Tootoo, 34, has no points in 36 games.

In The Loop: The Blackhawks' 9-1 February by the numbers

In The Loop: The Blackhawks' 9-1 February by the numbers

The Blackhawks went 9-1 in February and did so in emphatic fashion.

The Blackhawks outscored their opponents 44-24 in the month and scored four goals or more in each of the nine wins. The only loss came after the team's bye week, a 3-1 loss at home to Edmonton seven days after winning 5-1 in Edmonton.

A big reason for the Blackhawks' recent surge is because of the production of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Toews scored seven goals and had 11 assists in February and was named the league's second star of the week this week. Patrick Kane had nine goals and seven assists.

Scott Darling went 3-0 in his starts and gave up just four goals in those games. Corey Crawford went 6-1 with a 2.71 goals against average.

Despite the Blackhawks' success in February, the Minnesota Wild still lead the division. The Blackhawks beat the Wild twice in February, but the Wild went 7-2 in the rest of February, including tonight's 5-4 overtime win against the LA Kings to sit three points ahead of the Blackhawks and still with two games in hand.

Watch the video above to see Pat Boyle break down these Blackhawks numbers.