-- Amidst all the trading that's been done thus far, the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks are still actively looking for a partner.
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has already pulled off one deal this month -- acquiring forward Michael Frolik
from the Florida Panthers on Feb. 9 for rookie forward Jack Skille -- but he's looking for more before Monday's 3 p.m. trade deadline.
"We're still talking (with teams)," Bowman said, while meeting with reporters during Saturday's Hawks practice. "There's an awful lot of activity now. It's really heightened over the last week or so. It's probably the busiest it's been. I'm having a lot of discussions, but nothing to report yet. I'm hopeful that something will get done."
Salary concerns will have to be factored into a deal, since the Blackhawks are still hovering near the League's $59.4 million hard salary cap. However, it appears Bowman does have some wiggle room underneath the cap to add a quality player or two, depending on roster space and who gets sent out in a trade.
"There's an awful lot of activity now. It's really heightened over the last week or so. It's probably the busiest it's been. I'm having a lot of discussions, but nothing to report yet. I'm hopeful that something will get done." -- Hawks GM Stan Bowman "We're not going to be adding an all-star type player into the mix," Bowman said. "We're looking for more of a situational type upgrade. If we can do that, I think it will help the group, but if not I'm very confident in the group we have here."
Friday morning the Hawks placed former defenseman Nick Boynton on waivers, and the Philadelphia Flyers claimed him Saturday -- which freed up one roster spot in Chicago. If the Hawks picked up two players by trade, then somebody else would have to be moved off the current roster.
Bowman hopes that doesn't need to happen. He likes how his team is playing, especially in the past week with three straight wins against the Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators.
"We're starting to come together as a group," Bowman said. "It's taken awhile here, but we're not looking to really change the core guys at all. We're looking to try to add to the mix, as opposed to take from it. We don't think we need drastic changes. We just think we need to add a little bit to the mix."
What's he looking for?
"Nothing's changed," Bowman said. "We'd like to try and get some depth at center and try to get a defenseman who can eat up some minutes for us, but that's been the same thing we've been looking for the past month or two."
Bowman also said that he's "optimistic" he will reach a deal -- or two -- before Monday's deadline.
"It's just trying to find the right fit in terms of the salary," he said. "There's a lot of higher-priced guys available. They don't really fit in our plans, so I think a lot of people are looking for similar things. But we'll keep talking and hopefully something will work out."