Updated: August 28, 2011 12:22AM
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said Thursday he’s confident “that when we get going next October, we’ll have a very strong team.”
But there’s plenty of work to be done.
First on his checklist was goalie Corey Crawford. With Crawford locked in for three years, Bowman’s attention will turn to re-signing other restricted free agents, notably winger Michael Frolik and defenseman Chris Campoli.
Deciding what to do with forwards Viktor Stalberg, Troy Brouwer and Jake Dowell, who also are restricted free agents, and preparing for June’s entry draft are also on tap. Trades and young players moving up also will be considered.
“Our top priority was getting Corey signed,” Bowman said. “Now that we’ve done that, we’re going to move on to some of the other business at hand. We’ve got a number of players whose contracts are finished.
“We’re going to work on them concurrently. That’s really the next thing on tap here. We’re preparing for the entry draft, as well. Over the next four or five weeks, we’re going to spend time getting ready for the draft, as well as handling our players who need new contracts.”
While not in the salary-cap mess that he was in last summer, Bowman does need the cap to rise by the expected $3 million to make things work better.
“We have a good idea where the cap will be,” Bowman said. “We’re still going to be making some changes, like I indicated before — not wholesale changes, but we need to have some new faces in the lineup.”