Free Agency Opens ... Today! 88 Staying -- For Now, Scotty Bowman Leaves, Prospect Notes, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Free Agency Opens … Today! 88 Staying — For Now, Scotty Bowman Leaves, Prospect Notes, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

We wake up on Wednesday at a fascinating time in Blackhawks history. Duncan Keith officially retired yesterday, there are trade winds swirling around the United Center, and on the ice across the street at Fifth Third Arena the next generation is on the ice showing what they’ve got. And the Blackhawks still need to put together a roster for the coming 2022-23 season, which they can begin doing today as free agency begins.

  • NHL free agency is officially open for business at 11 AM CT today. We broke down some potential bargain buys for the Blackhawks as they look to fill out a roster this season.
  • We remind our readers, please — PLEASE — consider where you’re getting your rumors as we get into crazy season today. There are some lest trustworthy accounts on Twitter and Facebook that will misrepresent and mis-quote actual insiders.
  • Speaking of well-sourced reports, Frank Seravalli of The Daily Faceoff reported early Wednesday morning that Patrick Kane isn’t leaving before the season. So cancel the farewell parade… for now.
  • Scott Powers of The Athletic weighed in on some of the buzz around the Blackhawks’ two remaining core pieces: Kane and Jonathan Toews. His sources agree with Seravalli’s report that Kane and Toews aren’t leaving — yet.
  • A few significant nuggets from the Powers article:

“I reached out to a lot of people about their state on Tuesday, and I was met mostly with silence. Pat Brisson, their agent, hasn’t made any public comments in recent days, and Davidson hasn’t spoken since the first day of the draft. My assumption is someone would have said something in recent days if Kane and Toews had asked out.”

“I contacted a number of people from other organizations throughout Tuesday, and none of them said they had heard Kane and Toews would be available for trades. I’m confident these are the type of people who would know if that was the case.”

“I still think if Kane and Toews want to be traded that it’s more likely to happen at the trade deadline. It’ll give them more time to process everything and think of possible destinations. It’ll allow them to have somewhat of a farewell tour in Chicago. It’ll also allow the Blackhawks to probably have more suitors. If they eat a good portion of Kane and Toews’ cap hits, plenty of Stanley Cup contenders will be lining up for them as rentals.”

  • This all makes too much sense. If Davidson wants to maximize his return — and is focused on adding draft assets in 2023 and beyond — he’ll have a longer list of teams intrigued (and having cap space to make a deal) during the season. And both Kane and Toews understand their legacies in Chicago and value that part of their careers.
  • Duncan Keith formally retired on Tuesday afternoon. He is arguably the greatest defenseman in Blackhawks history, and he went out on his terms. The only part of the press conference that was a shame was that it wasn’t in Chicago.
  • One interesting note from Phil Thompson of the Chicago Tribune: Tuesday was an anniversary for Keith.
  • Scotty Bowman, father of Stan and an icon in the NHL as the winningest coach in league history, announced on Twitter that he’s no longer part of the Blackhawks organization.
  • Now 88 years old, Bowman says he would like to stay involved in the game. But how and where he fits will be something to watch. This isn’t an unexpected piece of news for the organization.
  • Joe Smith, who covers the Lightning for The Athletic, shared that Bowman spoke with Rocky Wirtz last month and general manager Kyle Davidson more recently. Bowman told Smith that Davidson “asked him to reconsider, and he took a few days, but just felt it was best to make a change.”
  • Apparently the draft wasn’t completely a dream come true for one of the Blackhawks’ selections. Ryan Greene, the 57th overall pick in the second round last week, apparently had all of his hockey gear stolen in Montreal just before the draft. Charlie Roumeliotis shared the story of how his car went missing, and how he’s trying to navigate development camp with borrowed gear.
  • Finally, we’re going to stick with prospect highlights but head to the diamond for one helluva catch from last night.

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab