by Scott King
Blackhawks vice president and general manager Stan Bowman took a conference call with the media ahead of this weekend’s NHL Draft in Dallas.
Bowman didn’t expect any big trades happening before the draft like last year (Saad/Panarin, Murphy/Hjalmarsson…), but said offers and dealings like that are also hard to predict.
Hawks Goaltender Corey Crawford missed the vast majority of last season after being placed on injured reserve with what was labeled an “upper-body” injury on December 27. Crawford is listed among the attendees for the annual Blackhawks convention in July.
“We expect Corey to be back,” Bowman said. “We don’t have any reason to think that’s not going to happen.”
The 33-year-old goalie has a career save percentage of .919, a goals against average of 2.37 and a 230-124-45 record in 409 NHL games.
Three-time Stanley Cup champion Marian Hossa announced he would miss the 2017-2018 season due to a rare skin disorder last June and was placed on the team’s long term injured reserve list.
In May, Hossa told the Slovakian news outlet Novy Cas that he would be retiring from the NHL after 19 seasons. Bowman was asked about the possibility of unloading the 39-year-old’s contract to free up some cap space (the salary cap for the 2018-2019 is expected to be near 80 million).
“We’re looking at our options on that front,” Bowman said. “If you’re going to make a trade of that sort, you have to find a willing party. So there’s nothing to report on that front.”
If done, the winger would finish his career with 525 goals and 609 assists in 1,309 regular season games. Hossa, who mostly played on the Hawks’ third line in the 2016-2017 season, finished with 26 goals and 19 assists in his last active year.
The Blackhawks have two first round picks in this weekend’s draft (#8 and #27).
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