Within the span of a week, the Chicago Blackhawks went from “playoff” mode to “offseason” mode. The club is expected to have a pretty hectic offseason and it looks like they got into the nitty-gritty straight away. General manager Stan Bowman had a lot to say about the state of the team after they lost to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Now, it’s the players’ turn to speak to the media for their exit interviews. Goaltender Corey Crawford and center Kirby Dach both spoke with the media on Aug. 25. We have that and more as the latest to come from Chicago.
Crawford is the hot commodity this offseason as he is officially a free agent.
While the speculation around him is expected, it’s nice to get some insight from the man himself. He said two things that I think stand out. The first one is this:
I don’t know where our cap is. We have a bunch of guys we need to sign. That’s something we’ll discuss in our meetings with Stan. But I’m definitely leaning towards staying with Chicago.(from ‘Corey Crawford wants to re-sign with the Blackhawks, says salary ‘not as important’ as playing time’, Chicago Sun-Times, 08/25/2020)
I find it interesting that Crawford used the term “leaning towards” to start off; as if he could possibly be thinking of a departure. I think that is par for the course because nothing is guaranteed in this league as to whether players stay or go. Crawford did end the interview by saying that staying in Chicago is a priority for him. But, I think it was an intriguing choice of words, nonetheless.
The second notable thing Crawford mentioned was:
I don’t want to play half the games and sit on the bench for long stretches of time. My value is just not as good doing that. I’m way more valuable playing games and playing consistently.
It looks like as long as the team doesn’t bring in another No. 1 goalie who he would have to split playing time with again, like Robin Lehner, then Crawford’s mind is made up. Now the ball is in the Blackhawks’ court to make the final call.
We all saw how much potential 19-year-old Dach has during the regular season and in the playoffs, especially, where he had six points in nine games. Here is a clip that the Blackhawks posted that gives some of his insight going into next season.
I love hearing Dach speak on his development and his commitment to the team. We know the best is yet to come from him still, which makes next season all the more exciting.
The hockey world was shaken on Aug. 25 when the first big move of the offseason arrived. The Toronto Maple Leafs sent right wing Kasperi Kapanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins as part of a seven-piece trade between the two teams. Kapanen was a former first-round pick, which makes it a big deal. The part where it is relevant for Chicago is the fact that Kapanen coming to the Windy City was a possibility. The Blackhawks were reportedly in deep discussions with Toronto to land him (from ‘LeBrun: Maple Leafs accomplished their goal in recouping first-rounder for Kapanen’, The AthleticNHL, 08/25/2020).
For those interested in Kapanen’s background, his career NHL stats are 41 goals, 49 assists, and 90 points, with a plus-six rating in 202 games. This provokes a lot of questions on Bowman’s front. If the Blackhawks were to land him, does that mean it has already been decided on who won’t be returning at right-wing? Drake Caggiula, Andrew Shaw, Dylan Sikura? We might not get answers straight away, but one thing seems certain: Bowman may be ready to make a move.
Now that the first trade domino has fallen with Toronto, I believe that trade rumblings on the Blackhawks front will be plentiful. Expect to hear more rumors, additional quotes from the team, and more!
Just a small town girl with Midwestern charm; combined with a love of dogs, writing, frappuccinos, Chicago-isms, sports, and a whole lot of Blackhawks hockey. Twitter: @brooke_lofo.