The Chicago Blackhawks are still “in the market for a forward” before the trade deadline at 2 p.m. CT, reports Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune. The report doesn’t specify any players that GM Stan Bowman might be targeting in the final hours of trade season, but he may not be done yet.
Bowman spent most of the past couple months insisting he wasn’t going to make any major trades this season, but he’s still been active by adding Johnny Oduya and Tomas Jurco to the roster in recent days. Those moves show he’s still making calls even if he’s not pursuing the big fish, and it’s possible he’s got another move up his sleeve.
Oduya firmed up the Blackhawks’ defensive depth behind Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Jurco did the same for a young, but fairly deep forward corps.
The one area where Bowman may be targeting players is a strong two-way center who can help with faceoffs. Marcus Kruger hasn’t been the same in that area since returning from injury, and Dennis Rasmussen has often filled in taking draws for that line even though he’s technically a winger. Having another versatile forward who could comfortably step in and take faceoffs in the playoffs would be useful, and that could be what Bowman is out searching for now.
The Blackhawks have only given up a pair of mid-round draft picks and Mark McNeill in their pre-deadline trades thus far, though, so they don’t seem interested in anyone who would cost too much. But if they can find another deal as obvious as the Oduya one, they could pull the trigger.