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Trade Coverage

Blackhawks not 'chasing down any trades,' GM says

Chicago has salary cap flexibility because several players are on long-term injured reserve

by Tracey Myers @Tramyers_NHL / Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks are in no hurry to add players via trades despite having room under the NHL salary cap because of injuries to several key players.

"We have the flexibility to do it, but right now we're not chasing down any trades," general manager Stan Bowman said before the Blackhawks played the Calgary Flames at United Center on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, SNW, NHL.TV). "I think part of this time of year is to have some conversations with other [general] managers to see where they're at. I think everyone trying to assess their team."

The Blackhawks (19-18-6), who haven't made the Stanley Cup Playoffs since the 2016-17 season, are 7-3-0 in their past 10 games. They enter Tuesday six points out of the second wild card in the Western Conference. The 2020 NHL Trade Deadline is Feb. 24.

"Financially, we can fit some other players in. Whether we're going to make moves or not, we have to see what comes down the pipe," Bowman said. "We don't have anything we're close to right now."

Defensemen Brent Seabrook, whose contract has an annual average value of $6.875 million, and Calvin de Haan ($4.55 million AAV) each had right shoulder surgery on Dec. 27, and each is out for the season. Forward Andrew Shaw ($3.9 million AAV) is in concussion protocol and last played on Nov. 30. Forward Drake Caggiula ($1.5 million AAV) is also in concussion protocol and hasn't played since Nov. 10.

"We're missing some players, but we've been able to have other guys step up," Bowman said. "It's been half a season. Some trends have emerged, some teams are struggling in certain areas and we have some injures we've been able to get through."

Bowman said he has been very happy with goalie Robin Lehner, who signed a one-year, $5 million contract with Chicago on July 1 after he was a Vezina Trophy finalist for the New York Islanders last season. Lehner is 12-7-4 with a 2.92 goals-against average and .922 save percentage but hasn't played since injuring his right knee against the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 2. He skated Tuesday for the first time since the injury but isn't ready to return.

"His reading of the game is second to none," Bowman said. "I think you put that together with the amount of net he covers on his own, then his reaction time and his anticipation, he makes some great saves. Even when we're not on top of our game, he keeps us in the games long enough to get going. I think that's what you're hoping your goalies can do, and he's been excellent."

Bowman wouldn't comment on whether he's had contract talks with Lehner, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, or forward Dylan Strome, who has 30 points (10 goals, 20 assists) in 39 games and can become a restricted free agent July 1.

"I don't think it's fair to the process," Bowman said, "so I'm not going to comment on discussions."

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