Stan Bowman says he doesn’t expect Blackhawks to be buyers at trade deadline

Some less-than-surprising comments from the Chicago GM.

Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said during the pregame show on NBC Sports Chicago not to expect the team to be buyers at the upcoming trade deadline. The Athletic’s Scott Powers has several quotes from Bowman’s television appearance that paint the picture of an executive who’s trying not to overreact to the team’s current position.

It’s a little hard to believe that the Blackhawks’ record has nothing to do with the decision not to pursue improvements, but Bowman is sticking with the company line that they’re hoping for progress from young players. You can see why given the way Nick Schmaltz and Alex DeBrincat have acclimated themselves this season.

The playoffs aren’t an impossibility for Chicago yet, but giving up long-term assets to improve those slim odds would be a dubious decision. So really, what Bowman says here shouldn’t surprise anyone too much. It never was going to make much sense for the team to start giving away picks and prospects to try to salvage a season that’s already on life support.

Arguably the more interesting comment was one that came not long afterwards about next season’s team.

For those hoping to see a major roster overhaul after this year’s disappointment, you probably shouldn’t hold your breath. Plans can change, of course, but Bowman’s comments make sense given that many key players have full no-movement clauses. Someone like Artem Anisimov might be expendable once his NMC turns into a partial no-trade clause on July 1, but most of the 2018-19 roster is already in place.

So even that second comment shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to fans. Moving core players like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Corey Crawford is difficult with those NMCs. There’s little reason to move affordable young players. So while changes will surely come, the Blackhawks appear to be hoping for internal improvement more than anything.

We’ll have to dig into more into the team’s direction soon, but for now, don’t get too charged up pondering trade scenarios.