Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman has his team and a new deal
BY ADAM L. JAHNS email@example.com October 4, 2011 10:26PM
Brandon Saad (right), celebrating with Jonathan Toews, will open the season with the Blackhawks. | Nam Y. Huh~AP
Updated: November 16, 2011 9:00AM
General manager Stan Bowman is going to be in Chicago for a while. That was guaranteed Tuesday when it was announced that he received a three-year extension through 2016.
But what about his team? What are the Blackhawks going to look like when the season starts Friday?
It looks like Bowman is done rounding out his 23-man roster, signing rookie Brandon Saad and backup goalie Ray Emery, putting Viktor Stalberg on the injured list and assigning Marcus Kruger, Brandon Pirri and others to Rockford.
“You want to have each team create their own identity,” Bowman said. “You don’t want to try to label it like, ‘This is like the team that was a couple seasons ago.’ But there are certain aspects of that [Stanley Cup-winning team].
“I like the mixture that we have of different styles of players. We’ve got some experience in this group for sure, which we had a couple years ago. And some of our key young players, they’ve grown up a little bit.”
At forward, the Hawks have Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Dave Bolland, Patrick Sharp, Bryan Bickell, Andrew Brunette, Daniel Carcillo, Michael Frolik, Jamal Mayers, Rostislav Olesz, Ben Smith and Saad.
The Hawks’ defense will consist of eight players: Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Nick Leddy, Sami Lepisto, Steve Montador, Sean O’Donnell and John Scott. Corey Crawford and Emery will be in goal.
Here’s a look at some of Bowman’s final moves in his words:
On signing Saad, the 43rd pick in the draft in June, to a three-year, entry-level deal:
“He was disappointed not to be a first-round round pick. You have to credit him for his hard work and determination. He’s earned a spot. That’s a good story for us. We put him into a position to succeed, and he seized it.
“We’re just really excited with his potential. He’s 18 years old and plays a pro game already. He’s got great years ahead of him. We were just fortunate to [draft] him when we did.”
On sending Kruger to Rockford:
“Marcus started slow. I think everybody noticed that. The one thing we haven’t yet seen over here, but he definitely has, is offensive ability. Once he adds that to the mix, he’s going to be a big part of this team. We’re still real high on him.”
Whether there is a concern in using wingers at center, such as Kane:
“We’re very confident with our guys. [Kane] is such a smart player. That’s the one thing that you have to [be] to play center. To be honest, I like watching him play with Marian. That’s the one difficulty we’ve had the first couple years. Those guys never played together because they play the same position. I really like how that’s worked out so far.”