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.

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Michal Kempny was in and out of the Blackhawks lineup last season but he’ll likely get a bigger opportunity this coming season. On Saturday, he was assured of coming back to get that chance.

Kempny and the Blackhawks agreed to a one-year extension, the team announced on Saturday morning.

“Michal’s style of play is an asset to our defense,” general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. “He is the type of player who will continue to improve now that he has transitioned to the National Hockey League. We look forward to his continued development on the ice for the Blackhawks.”

Kempny was part of a very crowded blue line last season — he was one of eight defensemen at the start of it — and played 50 regular-season games. He recorded two goals and six assists in those contests but did not play in the Blackhawks’ four postseason contests. With Johnny Oduya and Brian Campbell likely not returning, however, Kempny should get a bigger opportunity this season.

The 26-year-old Kempny also had two goals and an assist in eight games for the Czech Republic team at the 2017 World Championship.

Blackhawks announce plans for NHL Draft Fan Fest

Blackhawks announce plans for NHL Draft Fan Fest

With exactly a month to go until Chicago hosts the 2017 NHL Draft for the first time ever, the Blackhawks and league announced Wednesday their plans for Fan Fest held outside the United Center on June 23 and 24.

A handful of Blackhawks players and alumni will be in attendance and made available for photo opportunities, as will the Stanley Cup. Fans will also be able to explore the NHL Centennial Fan Arena, "a 53-foot museum truck with an innovative interior featuring more than 1,000 square feet of interactive digital displays, original video content, one-of-a-kind historical memorabilia, unique photo moments and a social media wall," according to the press release.

A full list of activities, special guest appearances and schedule will be posted at a later date.

Friday's events will run from 3 to 9 p.m. while Saturday's festivites will go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Parking Lot C, north of the United Center.

Additional passes for the weekend will be made available to the public starting June 9. For more information, visit chicagoblackhawks.com/fanfest.