Bowman pushes for 2015 Stanley Cup at trade deadline

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman didn’t ignore the future, but his focus was mainly on the present as he approached the trade deadline.

Bowman’ objective was to keep the Blackhawks a Stanley Cup contender despite losing Patrick Kane to an injury for 12 weeks. Bowman believed he accomplished that mission by acquiring defenseman Kimmo Timonen and forwards Antoine Vermette and Andrew Desjardins. In exchange, he gave up Ben Smith, prospect Klas Dahlbeck, a first-round draft pick in 2015, a second-round pick in 2015, a conditional fourth-round pick in 2016 and a conditional seventh-round pick in 2017.

Bowman acknowledged there was a price to be paid for his new players, but it was one he was willing to pay.

“You don’t like to give up draft picks, but at the same time, it is a draft pick,” Bowman said following the trade deadline Monday afternoon. “It’s something you have time to recoup those down the road. Right now, we’re trying to improve our team. I think we have a good chance here to be even better than we’ve been. We’re bringing in two players, and then we add another one today. We think three new faces to give our group some excitement and push for the playoffs.”

Bowman was enabled to make all of those moves because Kane’s cap hit because available once he was placed on long-term injured reserve. Bowman’s hope is for the Blackhawks to be good enough now to get deep enough in the playoffs for Kane to return to the lineup. For now, the Blackhawks are concentrating on the present.

“I think the goal for us, if you talk to our coaches, it's about the guys that are suiting up that night,” Bowman said. “Patrick Kane's a tremendous player. He's probably having the best season this year. But right now he's not an option for us, so we've got to focus on the guys who are here.

“That's what we try to focus on is the guys who are here and hungry to make a charge. We certainly want to keep winning so that Patrick can get back on the ice. But you have to focus on what's here and the guys that are ready to play tonight.”

Bowman’s major acquisition was Vermette. Bowman said he had been eyeing a trade with Arizona Coyotes general manager Don Maloney for Vermette for some time. Vermette fits Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville's mold of player.

“I had contacted him earlier in the season about Vermette,” Bowman said. “At that point, he wasn’t in a position where he wanted to trade him, so we kept talking. Over the last few days, obviously it really heated up.

“When you get close to a deal, you really want to close it because he was the No. 1 forward we were targeting. I think he brings a lot of versatility to the group. You look at what he can do, Joel likes to have players that can play on both ends of the ice. He’s got the faceoff capability. He’s always been one of the top 10 faceoff guys in the league. I think sometimes his offensive game gets under rated a little bit, but we expect him to contribute in both ends. When you have a player who can do all those things, then it was a priority for us to try to get it done.”

One player the Blackhawks didn’t get at the deadline, but Bowman has considered a late pick-up, is rookie Teuvo Teravainen, the organization’s top prospect. Bowman started Teravainen in the AHL this season in order to get him prepared for an opportunity to contribute later. He was recalled again last week after Kane's injury.

“Certainly Teuvo is here now and I think he’s getting confident and comfortable with each game,” Bowman said. “That was really our plan going back to the beginning of the year with Teuvo was we always sort of looked at him internally as our acquisition at the deadline. Even if we didn’t do anything else, we just felt by him getting an expanded role in Rockford that he would be the guy that we have right under our nose here to come up and emerge. We certainly hope that happens over the next couple of months is watching him play a bigger role.”