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Blackhawks will be active in trade talks prior to NHL draft

General manager Stan Bowman says he’s “had a number of conversations.”

2017 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Stan Bowman is working to improve the Blackhawks to get them to return to the playoffs after a two-year absence.

The Chicago general manager made, what he believes, to be the first step in doing that by acquiring left-handed defenseman Olli Maatta from the Penguins on Saturday. But Bowman said during Sunday’s media conference call that he expects to continue to be involved in trade discussions prior to the NHL draft, which begins Friday in Vancouver.

“I’ve had a number of conversations, and I expect that to continue over the next week,” Bowman said, according to Chris Kuc of “I think we’re going to continue to look into other ways to improve our team through trades, and if none of that comes to be, then we’ll look at the free-agent market. We expect to be active.

“We’re going to keep looking at other ways to improve our defense and the rest of our team.”

Prior to the Maatta trade, the Blackhawks reportedly discussed trades with, at least, two teams to acquire a defenseman. They were linked to the Blue Jackets’ left-handed shooting blue liner Ryan Murray and three blue liners on the Hurricanes: righties Justin Faulk and Dougie Hamilton and lefty Calvin de Haan.

Carolina didn’t view Chicago’s offers of “secondary forwards” as serious, according to Scott Powers of The Athletic. It’s unknown who the Blackhawks were offering to Carolina or Columbus.

According to CapFriendly,com, the Blackhawks have $17,236,539 million in projected salary cap space with 10 players set to become restricted free agents and seven to be unrestricted free agents.