The Blackhawks Insider podcast recently sat down with VP/GM Stan Bowman to get his thoughts on the NHL's trade marker, Brandon Pirri and more. Below is an excerpt of his answers.
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I love to play armchair GM like most fans, but how often do trade talks actually happen? Do you have meetings with other GMs, or do you have meetings with your team and then approach other GMs with offers?
There’s a few different ways it comes about. We’re always monitoring internally. We’ve got a lot of good communication amongst my staff, as well as the coaching staff. We meet regularly with the pro scouting staff to assess players they’re seeing around the league that have either improved or dropped off since our last meeting. We do that regularly so that we have a pulse on which players are playing well, and we try to assess our own team’s strengths and weaknesses.
I talk to the coaches daily, like, ‘What are you noticing? Where do you think we’re a little weak in terms of personnel?’ So you have those in the back of your mind.
You don’t have a meeting to talk with a GM about a trade. For me it’s done mostly through phone calls. You keep in touch; you call guys on a regular basis, not necessarily with trade proposals, but more ‘How is your team doing? What are you guys looking to do, are you going through some injuries, are you interested in shaking things up?’ Some teams that have gotten off to poor starts are sometimes trying to change their mix a little bit. Other teams are obviously doing very well, and they’re not looking to take away, they’re looking to add to it.
You have to keep in touch with them through conversations, and a lot of time if you do it right, you’ll be calling for one reason, and you’ll get some information, file it away for later in the year when you have that need. There’s always benefit in talking, and I’ve tried to keep in good contact with each of the GMs.
How close is Brandon Pirri to playing with the Blackhawks? I believe Brandon is [Rockford’s] leading scorer in terms of points – or at least near the top.
Brandon has almost matched his goal total from last year... He’s in the top 10 or 12 in the whole American Hockey League in scoring, and he’s only a second-year player. He’s clearly done what we hoped he’d do, which is take charge of the team a little bit. It’s strange to say that for a kid who’s so young, but we wanted him to take that challenge – can you be the No. 1 center? Can you be the offensive leader of an American League team? He’s shown he can do that.
His development is what we had hoped for. He’s going to be an offensive player when he makes it to the NHL, and he’s learning his craft there. He’s certainly got a good attitude about it, he wants to get better, and he asks a lot of questions. He’s eager, he listens well, and he works at his game. He had to get stronger because he’s got the skill, but he was a little bit slight last year. He worked very hard over the summer and came in in great physical condition, and that’s what’s allowed him to get the start that he has.
Can you tell me the progress of Kyle Beach from his injury? Are you expecting him back this season?
Kyle underwent surgery last month on the shoulder, and he should be back – it’s about a four-month recovery, something like 16 to 18 weeks. That should put him back in play just before the end of the season. We’re optimistic he’s going to get in the last few weeks of the season, and hopefully at that point we’ll still be in the chase. It was unfortunate that he got hurt because he was playing really well to start, and things looked up for him. I’ve talked to him a few times, and he’s very optimistic about rehab. He’s working hard at that, and he’s right on schedule for that type of injury. Let’s hope that he comes back strong.