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Blackhawks won't change coach or GM, chairman says: report

Colliton, Bowman, president McDonagh will return for 2020-21 season

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Coach Jeremy Colliton, general manager Stan Bowman and president John McDonagh will remain with the Chicago Blackhawks for the 2020-21 NHL season, chairman Rocky Wirtz told The Athletic on Wednesday.

"There's not going to be any changes in the front office," Wirtz said.

The Blackhawks have not advanced beyond the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2015, when they won the Stanley Cup for the third time in six seasons.

At the pause of the NHL season due to concerns about the coronavirus, the Blackhawks were 32-30-8, six points behind the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks for the second wild card and in danger of missing the postseason for a third straight season.

The Blackhawks announced a contract extension for Bowman on Jan. 26, 2016, keeping him as GM through 2020-21. There has been speculation that Bowman received another extension last offseason, but it has neither been confirmed nor denied.

"I'll let John get into all the details," Wirtz said of Bowman's contract. "But there's not going to be any changes, so let's put that away."

Colliton, in his first NHL coaching position, is 62-58-17 in 137 NHL games after he was hired Nov. 6, 2018, to replace longtime coach Joel Quenneville, who helped Chicago win the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

McDonough has been with the Blackhawks since 2007. He was named president and CEO on June 1, 2011. 

Wirtz said that the NHL salary cap, free agency and poor NHL Draft positions, a result of a decade of success for the organization, have landed the Blackhawks in their situation. Chicago had to make significant trades after each of its previous Stanley Cup victories. From 2009-17, the Blackhawks picked no higher than No. 18 in the NHL Draft and did not have a first-round pick in 2015 or 2016.

But Wirtz said he likes the path the front office has taken recently, trading for higher draft picks and younger players and signing free agents from Europe.

"I'm very optimistic on some of the young players," Wirtz said. "It's the system we have in place to draft and then develop players I think is good. I think that's what you'll see. If the system's right, then we're going to be OK. I think that's the key thing, so I'm optimistic. I don't do doom and gloom and stuff."

Chicago's past two first-round picks have made an impact. Forward Kirby Dach, the No. 3 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, has 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 64 games as a rookie. Defenseman Adam Boqvist, the No. 8 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 41 games in his first NHL season.

On Jan. 24, 2019, the Blackhawks traded a fifth-round pick to the Los Angeles Kings for Dominik Kubalik, a 24-year-old who had played solely in Europe. Kubalik has scored 30 goals, best among NHL rookies, and his 46 points lead first-season forwards, putting him in the conversation for the Calder Trophy awarded annually to the player voted the top rookie in the NHL.

Tweet from @TheAthleticCHI: How is Rocky Wirtz feeling about John McDonough, Stan Bowman and Jeremy Colliton? ���I think they���re all good."@ByScottPowers: https://t.co/zM5nxAcSCX

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