Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman appeared on “NHL Live” on the NHL Network Wednesday afternoon to talk about Jonathan Toews, his new gig with USA Hockey and, of course, what he’s doing on the trade front.
With the ‘Hawks sitting fourth in the Central Division, sixth in the Western Conference and 20th in the NHL in goals allowed per game (2.82), Bowman made no bones about his team needing to improve — especially on defense.
“I think there’s room for improvement” Bowman said. “We’ve had a good first 50 games for our group. We’ve put ourselves in a decent position going forward.
“We’re looking to improve our team through trades, but as you can see, there’s not a lot happening on that front. A lot of talking, but I think it will speed up a little bit as we get closer to the deadline. But right now, it’s a wait-and-see approach, and trying to find answers from within.”
Finding answers from within hasn’t been easy on the blueline. The ‘Hawks have missed the contributions of Brian Campbell (traded this offseason to Florida) and struggled to round out their top-six. Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Nick Leddy, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Steve Montador have all been regular fixtures in the lineup, but Montador only plays 15 minutes a night and the No. 6 spot has been a revolving door. Sean O’Donnell, Sami Lepisto, John Scott and Dylan Olsen have all had a turn, each with limited success.
It’s something Bowman recognizes as he looks to fill out the defense.
“We’ve got eight defensemen with us right now who I think all can play,” he said. “We’ve got a couple kids in the minors whom we’re high on and could also contribute, but if you’re looking for that proven NHL defenseman, that’s something we have to look at.”
“I’ve talked to a lot of general managers over the last few weeks, going back to December, just trying to get an idea of what they’re looking to do and I’ve tried to make it clear what we’re trying to do.
“I’ve had a lot of conversations and letting people know we’re willing to trade but there’s nothing happening at the moment.”
There’s been a lot of buzz around Chicago as the trade deadline approaches. Why? Well, Bowman’s been incredibly active on the trade front since taking the Chicago GM gig in July of 2009. He’s traded away the likes of Kris Versteeg, Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Troy Brouwer and Campbell while acquiring draft picks and young prospects like Leddy, Viktor Stalberg and Michael Frolik.