Stan Bowman isn't flinching.
Faced with a looming salary-cap situation that needs to be solved before the season-opening game, the Blackhawks' general manager isn't sweating his roster being over the limit by at least $1.3 million.
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At least, not at this point.
Somebody who's currently under contract must be moved for the Hawks to become cap-compliant, but it doesn't need to happen right now.
"We certainly have to be ready to go by October, that's the goal," Bowman said Friday at the Chicago Hilton, prior to the start of the seventh annual Blackhawks Fan Convention this weekend. "A lot of things change between now and then. You have to display some patience."
But other than Bowman, there's not a lot of patience being displayed by those looking at the situation from the outside. Names that have been mentioned in trade speculation include Johnny Oduya, Patrick Sharp, Michal Rozsival, Brent Seabrook and Bryan Bickell, who could all create the needed cap space if dealt.
Bowman's just not in a hurry to make a move. Something could materialize in the next few weeks before training camp starts, but he's just as willing to wait until camp starts.
"Like I said all along, we have some ideas of what we're going to do," Bowman said. "A lot of things happen once camps open, both for us and for other teams, in terms of players maybe you expect to meet expectations don't quite do it and certain teams are looking around trying to find players. I always think you're always in a good position when you have a lot of established players. I think that's better than the other way around."
The cap situation, which was caused by the free-agent signing of veteran center Brad Richards on July 1, provided the subtext for the media reception Friday afternoon. Richards met reporters in person and soaked in the bustling atmosphere, while Oduya, Sharp and Bickell talked about the roster uncertainty that lies ahead.
"You listen to it," said Oduya, who wore a walking boot on his right foot for a fractured bone he suffered in Game 7 against the Kings. "Obviously you know the reality of the business. I've been around long enough to realize what could happen and what could not happen, but as of now I'm a Chicago Blackhawk and very happy to be. Whatever happens, I have to deal with that in the future."
Speaking of the future, the identical eight-year contract extensions signed this month by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane -- with cap hits of $10.5 million each -- begin in 2015-16. They're viewed as cap-friendly deals to keep the franchise cornerstones in place, but that will add a combined $8.4 million to the Hawks' cap figure when they start.
Having only 15 players signed for 2015-16 at a reported total of $65.7 million, it doesn't take an advanced mathematics degree to figure out another cap crunch might be coming after this season. But ask the Hawks and there's not a huge amount of concern.
"I think the contracts that [Kane] and [Toews] signed are great deals," said Sharp, who has three years left on a contract with a $5.9 million cap hit. "We're happy for them. As far as the team, we've been through this before. We remember what it was like in 2009-10. If you start worrying about it, and start paying attention to all the speculation and rumors, you're going to drive yourself crazy. It's my job to play hockey and that's what I'm going to do."
Friday evening Sharp's job was to stroll down the runway at the Hilton's International Ballroom in the annual parade of players and Hawks dignitaries to officially start the convention.
Fans were also treated to a couple of videos, including a tribute to the career of television broadcaster Pat Foley -- who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November as the 2014 Foster Hewitt Memorial Award recipient.
Former Daily-Herald beat writer Tim Sassone, who covered the Blackhawks for 26 seasons, was also memorialized, along with former Hawks players Doug Jarrett and Doug Mohns on a video-screen tribute.