Stan Bowman

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman loses his voice discussing deals today

Judging from the massive (but mostly justifiable) five-year, $29 million deal the Blackhawks signed with Brent Seabrook, it’s reasonable to say that Chicago GM Stan Bowman already had a busy weekend.

Yet there’s no time for Bowman to relax with the trade deadline set to expire Monday afternoon. Even though his team seems to be on an upswing with three wins in a row, they find themselves outside the Western Conference’s top eight as of this writing, so it’s understandable that he might want to make a tweak or two.

Bowman’s probably been piling up a hefty cell phone bill lately. CSN Chicago’s Tracey Myers reports that Scotty Bowman’s son has been discussing possible deals with other GMs so frequently on Trade Deadline Eve that he’s starting to lose his voice. Perhaps he needs a lozenge almost as much as his team will need to dump salary this coming summer.

“I’m losing my voice here a little. I’ve been on the phone all day,” he said.

Indeed, Bowman has been burning up the phone lines, making plenty of calls to acquire a center or defenseman before the NHL trade deadline expires at 2 p.m. CST Monday.

After a flurry of trade activity throughout this last week, Sunday has been very quiet. With less than 24 hours remaining before the deadline, Bowman said it was “still optimistic” that a deal would be done.

“There’s a lot of talking still but it’s probably one of those things where the first domino has to fall and then I think it’ll spur other things,” he said. “If we end up with the group we have now, I’m very comfortable with that. But we’re aggressively trying to improve the team.”

It might be reasonable to assume that tomorrow’s trade deadline won’t be as hectic as last year’s quantity-over-quality afternoon since there’s been an impressive flurry of moves already. That being said, there are still plenty of interesting possibilities as teams try to gear up for their final playoff pushes or prepare for the future by jettisoning unnecessary veterans.

The Blackhawks probably need to keep their focus on players with expiring deals only, especially if they opt to make a deal like last year’s cap-friendly Cam Barker for Kim Johnsson trade. (Of course, they’re unlikely to find another GM who wants to get rid of some of their dead weight, unless there are some Brian Campbell fans we don’t know about.)

The team is suffering a bit after being forced to shed some of the depth that made them such a tough team last season, but with prorated cap hits making certain deals slightly more affordable, the deadline might be a good time to bolster their lower ranks.

Naturally, stick with PHT for timely and informative updates regarding the one type of deadline that almost everyone loves.

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.

Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

We’ll know in a month.

Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.