Blackhawks not likely to feel trade winds
BY MARK LAZERUS email@example.com March 16, 2013 11:40PM
Jonathan Toews, Jonathan Toews
Updated: April 18, 2013 7:12AM
DALLAS — The parity in the NHL this season — particularly in the Western Conference — should make for an exciting, down-to-the-wire stretch run. It also should make for a nail-biting, down-to-the-wire trading season.
The NHL trade deadline is April 3, and while Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said he’s looking to make his league-leading roster even better, it’s been tough to find eager trading partners.
“It doesn’t seem like anybody’s ready to make any trades, certainly not in the West,” Bowman said. “All 15 teams probably are still in the race. In the East, there’s a little bit more separation. Still, only maybe a couple of teams are looking to trade players and look to the future. Everyone else is still trying to decide, ‘Do I trade or do I try to acquire?’ It’s probably going to come right down to the end, like it always does, before teams decide they’re looking to the future. So I’ve had tons of conversations but nothing’s even close.”
Bowman said he’d be interested in adding some depth at center, though he was quick to point out he’s been pleased with the play of Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger on the third and fourth lines, respectively. Given the talent on his roster, and the depth he has in Rockford — he singled out forwards Brandon Pirri and Jeremy Morin as NHL-ready players who can follow Brandon Saad and Jimmy Hayes to Chicago — he won’t make any moves unless the price is low enough.
Veteran Calgary center Jarome Iginla, who’ll be an unrestricted free agent after this season, has been linked to the Hawks, as well as the Penguins and Bruins, among others. But the Flames surely would like to get a lot in return.
“To get a top guy, you have to wonder what the price would be,” he said. “We’re not looking to change the mix we have. We’re looking to add to it. We don’t want to change the chemistry we’ve developed.
“If we don’t end up making a trade, I would be comfortable with the group we have here.”
On other topics:
◆ Bowman said defenseman Steve Montador — who debuted for Rockford on Friday night — still has a place with the team, despite his hefty contract, his concussion history and the Hawks’ depth on the blue line.
“Things change quickly in terms of the health of our players,” he said. “Steve’s an NHL player, he’s played a lot of years in the league, so we just need to get him back to game-readiness.”
◆ Bowman declined to talk about contract negotiations, but said Bryan Bickell — an impending free agent — is “coming into his own.”
◆ Bowman said he’s glad to see Patrick Kane fulfilling his potential, and that drive comes “from within.” When asked about Kane’s maturation off the ice, Bowman said: “He’s really the same kid. He hasn’t changed an awful lot, truthfully. He’s gone through some thing, he’s lived his life.”