Ahead of Friday night's first round of the 2018 NHL Draft, Chicago Blackhawks VP/GM Stan Bowman spoke with the media via conference call in Dallas. Here are some of the bigger topics he hit on.
On whether or not to expect the Blackhawks to make big trades
The deals like last year's come together very quickly. We're not close to doing a deal right now before tomorrow. I've learned to never try and predict the future, so I can't say for sure that we're going to be making significant moves. We're going to try and improve our team. That's our job, to look at our options in the short term and long term. Between the draft itself, drafting players, potential trades and free agent signings, those are the avenues we're looking into to make our team better, but it's difficult to predict the magnitude of changes as we go forward. All I can say is it's our job to try and improve the team in the short term and keeping in mind the long term as well.
On if there is a Corey Crawford Update
I don't really have an update, per say. What I said at the end of the year is still the case now, which is we expect Corey to be back. I don't have any reason to think that's not going to happen but as far as any other things at this point in the summer, all the players are preparing for the next season. Corey is in that same preparation mode. I guess when we get to the Convention, he can speak more specifically about himself, but nothing has changed. We expect him to be back and ready to go in training camp.
On what has made the team excited about the draft, and what the biggest challenge is
We haven't picked this high in a while, so you're getting a different caliber of player when you're picking in the top 10. You're getting a player that's hopefully going to have a pretty big impact on your team. It's possible to do that when you're picking later in the twenties but it's a lot less likely to happen there. We're looking at some really good players and this year in particular, it's a mixture of positions. You've got some defensemen, you've got some forwards and even with that you've got some wingers and some centermen. You have some bigger guys, some smaller guys. There's a wide assortment this year so that's why it's hard to know what the teams ahead of us are going to do. But we've spent a lot of time looking at guys we think fit what we're looking for. I think that's probably been the challenge.
Usually when you're picking in the top 10 you have a good idea of how the first four, five or six picks are going to go. This year, it's really just the first two picks. After that, it could go a number of different ways, which is why we've had discussions of possibly moving up. But a lot of teams in that range, three through seven, they're unsure they want to move down because they think they might get someone they value highly at their spot. We have been pursuing the potential of moving up, and it still could happen but I think right now you have to find someone that's willing to do that. Right now, I think because of the uncertainty of how teams are going to select players, it leads to teams more likely to stay tight on their pick.