CHICAGO (WSCR) After winning the Stanley Cup, the Chicago Blackhawks went through a much publicized roster overhaul. A year later, the Blackhawks’ offseason will be focused on filling team needs instead of cutting salary.
The end result of that overhaul saw the Blackhawks parting ways with players like Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Adam Burish and Brent Sopel, all players who added a gritty and physical element to the roster. With those players gone, the Blackhawks were left with a team almost entirely of skill players, and that hurt them down the stretch.
“I do agree that we need to have a little bit more of that element in our game,” Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said on the Danny Mac Show.
The Blackhawks will look to improve their physicality both from within, with players like John Scott and prospect Kyle Beach, and through free agency and trades.
LISTEN: Stan Bowman On The Danny Mac Show
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“John Scott, he came in this year and wasn’t utilized an awful lot,” Bowman said. “But we talked about it, briefly, with the coaches after the season, that we want to try and find a way to get him more ice time. He’s certainly an intimidating force and I think he did progress as the year went on. We played him in the playoffs and he was actually pretty effective in the minutes he got, [we'd] like to get him some more minutes.
“Kyle Beach certainly plays that style of game, he’s an agitator, he’s a big kid. He had a pretty good first season. He didn’t score as much as he had in the past, I think he was adjusting a little bit to the pro-game. He has that element to his game…We’re going to hope he has a big summer and comes in ready to play and earn a job in training camp, we’re not going to hand jobs out. But he’s a guy that is able to fill that role with his style, so if he can come in and do it, that would be a bonus for us. And we’re also going to look through trades or free agent players that we think would add that element to our team.”
While improvements and changes are needed, Bowman stressed that the core of the team would stay the same.
“We’re not going to bring everybody back,” Bowman said. “But for the most part, we think we have a good group here to build on. We have some young kids who came in and made very impressive showings for their first seasons in the NHL. So there’s a lot of good components there. Our main guys are all coming back, and they had solid seasons as well. So there’s some changes we need to make, but it’s not an overhaul.”