Still mum on Crawford, Blackhawks GM looks to add dynamic player in draft

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Blackhawks general manager on why he's excited about Friday's NHL draft: "There's a number of top players available and we know we're going to get one."

    Chicago Blackhawks general manager on why he's excited about Friday's NHL draft: "There's a number of top players available and we know we're going to get one." Daily Herald file photo

 
 
Updated 6/21/2018 4:25 PM

What kept Corey Crawford out of action for more than three months last season?

It's a good question, but one Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman refused to answer during a conference call Thursday to preview Friday's NHL draft in Dallas.

 

"There's no gag order," Bowman said. "We handle Corey's situation the way we have every other player. We've never gone into specifics on injuries."

That, of course, is not entirely true.

One day after Patrick Kane crashed into the United Center boards on Feb. 24, 2015, the Hawks announced the superstar would miss 12 weeks with a broken left clavicle. And on Dec. 18, 2015, they announced Marcus Kruger would miss four months with a dislocated left wrist

But whereas those significant injuries required surgery, Crawford's mysterious ailment did not.

Bowman did say he expects Crawford to be the Hawks' starting goaltender next season and that it will be up to Crawford if he wants to disclose more when he meets the media at the team's convention on July 27.

As for the draft, Bowman is understandably excited.

He enters Friday with the eighth and 27th picks in the first round and has no doubt he'll add an exciting player that could help the Hawks for 10 years or more.

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"We like this draft," Bowman said. "There's a number of top players available and we know we're going to get one of them because there's more than eight guys that we like."

Hockey prospect Rasmus Dahlin, seen here meeting the media Thursday in Dallas, is expected to be the No. 1 pick in Friday's NHL draft.
Hockey prospect Rasmus Dahlin, seen here meeting the media Thursday in Dallas, is expected to be the No. 1 pick in Friday's NHL draft. - Associated Press

Buffalo is expected to take defenseman Rasmus Dahlin with the No. 1 pick and Carolina should quickly follow by taking dynamic forward Andrei Svechnikov at No. 2.

Forward Filip Zadina figures to go next, but whether he ends up in Montreal or the Canadiens decide to trade down remains to be seen.

"Once you get to that third spot, boy, I think it would be really hard to predict what's going to happen 3 through 7," Bowman said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Last year on draft day, Bowman pulled off two blockbuster trades when he sent Artemi Panarin to Columbus for Brandon Saad and Anton Forsberg, and shipped Niklas Hjalmarsson to Arizona for Connor Murphy. Can we expect any similar bombshells in the coming hours?

"I feel like last year those deals came together pretty quickly," Bowman said. "We're not close to doing a deal right now.

"(But) I've learned to never try to predict the future, so I can't say for sure that we're going to be making significant moves. We're going to try to improve our team. … But it's difficult to predict the magnitude of changes."

Bowman admitted he has had discussions with teams about moving up in the draft.

"But a lot of (those) teams (are) unsure that they want to move down because they think they might get someone they value highly," Bowman said. "We have been pursuing the potential of moving up, and it still could happen. But you have to find someone that's willing to do that.

"And right now -- because of the uncertainty with how teams are going to select players -- it leads to teams more likely to sit tight on their pick."

• Twitter: @johndietzdh

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