The Blackhawks have been busy in the trade market over the last few weeks, acquiring NHL experience in Olli Maatta, Calvin de Haan and, most recently, Andrew Shaw. But it doesn't mean Stan Bowman is laying low on possible free agency acquisitions as the market opens on Monday.
"We're still talking to some free agents. We've been busy over the past several days," Chicago's Senior Vice President/General Manager said while discussing the Shaw deal on Sunday evening. "This doesn't rule anything out. I think we're still going to make calls and follow through on some conversations we've had."
For weeks, Bowman has been adamant that he doesn't want to overpay, both in term and price, come July 1 - opting instead to add NHL-proven talent to the roster through a trade as he did for the third time in as many weeks Sunday night.
With new contracts forthcoming for Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome, in particular, as each enters the final year of his respective contract, Bowman knows that the rampant overpayment come July 1 isn't something he's in the market for. Instead, he said, Chicago is looking at perhaps one or two lesser-profile additions at a lower term and price.
"One year would be preferred, but it doesn't have to be one year," Bowman said. "When you look at these six- or seven-year deals, which I'm sure some guys are going to get, that's a little bit more challenging for us going forward. We're trying to improve our team in the short term, which I'm confident we've done, but we're also trying to be aware where things are going over the coming years so we put ourselves in a good position."
2019 NHL Free Agency officially opens for teams to sign out-of-contract players at 11 a.m. CT on Monday, July 1