Blackhawks sure to go for a splash in free agency
With the salary cap at $70.2 million for the time being, Bowman has more than $8 million at his disposal. The Hawks also have been dangling defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, so more cap room may become available.
Here’s a look at free agency:
Notable unrestricted free agents
Zach Parise (Devils), Shane Doan (Coyotes), Olli Jokinen (Flames), Dustin Penner (Kings), P.A, Parenteau (Islanders), Jaromir Jagr (Flyers)
There are plenty of big names out there — even more so, considering the Blue Jackets’ Rick Nash and the Ducks’ Bobby Ryan are available via trades — but the Hawks have to fix their holes at center. Their lack of depth up the middle has hurt matchups and been exposed far too much.
It’s not just on the second line, either. They simply need more legitimate centermen – not wings capable of handling the middle — who are solid in the faceoff circle but can competently handle all the responsibilities associated with the position. The Hawks had depth in the middle when they won the Stanley Cup in 2010, just as the Kings did this past season.
There are plenty of playmaking wings available. Parise is coveted by everyone, and Doan could provide an aggressive edge and some veteran savvy. Both should be pitched.
Ryan Suter (Predators), Matt Carle (Flyers), Jason Garrison (Panthers)