Stan Bowman has some good news for Blackhawks fans.
While the NHL salary cap is going down to $64.3 million from $70.2 million, the Blackhawks general manager says there won't be dramatic changes to the roster like there was in 2010 after the first Stanley Cup win.
“We are going to make a few changes, but it's not going to be like before,” Bowman said. “There's a lot of work to be done here in a short amount of time with the schedule so tight and the draft approaching (Sunday). We don't have it all sorted out yet, but we have an idea of what we want to do. It just takes some time.”
First order of business for Bowman is getting left wing Bryan Bickell re-signed before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on Friday.
“I'm proud of the way (Bickell) has progressed as a player and I'm happy for him,” Bowman said. “We have a long history together going back to when we drafted him. I've spent a lot of time over the years trying to keep him encouraged and he spent three or four years in the minor leagues and sometimes those guys get disgruntled.
“But he stuck with it and he just improved along the way, so if anything we're excited for him and we certainly want to keep him here. It's a puzzle to put together and try to work it out, but I think he wants to be here. I know he's said that publicly and we certainly want him back, so we're going to do everything we can to make that happen.”
Bickell said on Thursday he would consider a hometown discount to stay.
Getting restricted free agents Nick Leddy and Marcus Kruger re-signed comes next for Bowman.
With the franchise's fifth Stanley Cup title in grasp (and the second in four seasons), here's a roster breakdown of what each player contributed in the record-setting season and what kind of a future might be ahead for them.
Sheldon Brookbank — Provided depth on the blue line and he figures to do it again next season since he has one year remaining on his contract.
Niklas Hjalmarsson — One of the team's most underrated players, he's a top shot blocker and a dependable defenseman. He's going into the final year of his contract as a two-time Stanley Cup winner so getting him re-signed could be tricky.
Duncan Keith — What's left to say about this guy? He had 13 points in the playoffs and averaged well over 30 minutes of ice time a game in the Finals. He is signed through 2023, so get used to seeing No. 2 around.
Nick Leddy — He had a good regular season, but played less and less as the playoffs progressed. The Hawks still love his upside and want to keep the 22-year-old defenseman. Bowman said he is not worried about Leddy getting an offer sheet.
Johnny Oduya — He was plus-12 with 10 points in the playoffs. That says it all about Oduya's value when it mattered most.
Michal Rozsival — One of Bowman's toughest decisions will be whether to offer the 34-year-old unrestricted free agent another contract. He certainly deserves it based on his play in the playoffs, but how much more than the $2 million he made this season would it take? It might be time for the Hawks to go with Adam Clendening to run the power play, if nothing else.
Brent Seabrook — He scored 2 of the biggest goals of the postseason for the Hawks, both in overtime, against Detroit in Game 7 of that series and in Game 4 at Boston. He added a physical edge the Hawks couldn't have done without against the Bruins and really stepped up as a leader in a couple situations when Jonathan Toews either wasn't scoring taking penalties against the Detroit Red Wings.
Dave Bolland — He'll always be remembered as the guy who scored the goal to win the second Stanley Cup with less than a minute to play in Game 6 against Boston, but did it come in his last game with the Hawks? Trading Bolland would be risky, especially since the Hawks are so thin at center.
Michal Handzus — He said he wants to return, but at age 36 he might not get that chance. He was invaluable in the playoffs, however, and is quite popular with his teammates if that means anything. He will be an unrestricted free agent on Friday.
Marcus Kruger — Turned into a premier penalty killer with Michael Frolik, and Kruger is a must to get re-signed as a restricted free agent if for no other reason than that. He assisted on Bolland's game-winner with less than a minute to play in Game 6.
Jonathan Toews — There are no words left to describe the kind of season he had and what he means to the team. He's a true leader of men.
Bryan Bickell — His 9 goals in the playoffs were second only to Patrick Sharp's 10, one more important than the last. He couldn't have picked a better time to have the playoff of his life, but he's been a good soldier and deserves whatever he can get as an unrestricted free agent.
Brandon Bollig — Stepped into the Finals and gave the Hawks two strong games physically while filling in for the benched Viktor Stalberg.
Daniel Carcillo — Will finally get a ring after missing out in 2010 when he was with the Flyers.
Michael Frolik — Nobody on the Hawks played harder than Frolik from the first game of the season through Game 6 of the Finals. Accepted his role on the fourth line and turned into one of the game's top penalty killers.
Marian Hossa — Played on pure guts the last three games of the Finals with a back so bad he might need surgery. He had 7 goals and 16 points in the playoffs to remind everyone that he is probably the Hawks' second-best all-around player behind Toews.
Patrick Kane — A big-game player by every definition of the word. His hat trick against Los Angeles in the finale of the Western Conference finals looked like small potatoes compared to his clutch 2-goal game in Game 5 of the Finals. He has earned the right to act as crazy as he wants this off-season.
Jamal Mayers — A pro's pro who is likely to retire a champion. And it's well deserved.
Brandon Saad — The man-child from Pittsburgh became a hero with his consistent play, which earned him a spot on the NHL's all-rookie team on Saturday.
Patrick Sharp — He led the team in playoff goals in both Cup years, which is a true testament to his ability to come up big when it matters the most. Sharp doesn't get as much attention as Toews or Kane, but he should.
Andrew Shaw — The guts of the team, Shaw played with a broken rib for the last two series and took a puck to the face in Game 6 against Boston and still returned to play. Sometimes good things come out of nowhere, which was the case with Shaw, a fifth-round draft pick.
Ben Smith — He will get his name on the Cup for having played a game in the Finals when Hossa couldn't go in Game 3. He definitely should figure into the team's plans for next year.
Viktor Stalberg — Unfortunately for Stalberg, his last game with the Hawks was probably the most memorable for him. As an unrestricted free agent and not one of coach Joel Quenneville's favorites, he will undoubtedly sign elsewhere but as a Stanley Cup champion.
Corey Crawford — As Stan Bowman said, Crawford took the long way to becoming a Stanley Cup champion. He played in the minors for five years before finally getting his chance to start in 2011. There have been bumps along the way, but that hardly matters now.
Ray Emery — Another unrestricted free agent who may or may not return. There could be a team out there ready to throw big money at him and the opportunity to start, but Emery said last week there's something fun about winning so his return to back up Crawford for another season is a possibility.
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