‘Hawks are happy with rookies’ progress

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At the start of the season, the Chicago Blackhawks had little choice but to bank on their rookies to keep improving throughout the 82-game schedule.

After losing the likes of Andrew Shaw, Andrew Ladd, and Teuvo Teravainen in the offseason, and with minimal cap space to work with, it was really all they could do.

Fifty-seven games in, the ‘Hawks are still being paced to a large degree by their veteran stars. But youngsters like Ryan Hartman, Vinnie Hinostroza, Nick Schmaltz and Tanner Kero have at least shown the potential to make up for what’s been lost.

“Our young guys are showing some progressions in their games, adding balance to our team,” head coach Joel Quenneville said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “We have depth. We have experience. We’re strong in all areas, all positions.”

Of course, Quenneville also said that GM Stan Bowman “is always looking to improve,” so don’t be surprised if the ‘Hawks make a minor move or two ahead of the March 1 deadline.

But Bowman doesn’t expect to do anything drastic. When he looks at the Western Conference, he doesn’t see “one dominant team we’re trying to catch” that would necessitate a major addition.

“I’m not saying 100 percent we’re not going to make a trade, but I’m not expecting to make a significant trade,” Bowman told ESPN.com recently. “We’re trying to win the Cup this year, absolutely, but it’s not predicated upon a rental.”

The ‘Hawks (35-17-5) entered their bye week on a five-game winning streak. They don’t play again until Saturday at home to Edmonton.