Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman has an affinity for draft picks. Last year, Bowman selected 11 players in the 2011 NHL Draft. Is he satisfied with the eight selections he has next weekend?
Bowman had the luxury of two picks in each of the first, second, third and seventh rounds. Right now, the Blackhawks have their allotment of picks in the 2012 draft, plus the fifth-round selection they received from the New York Rangers for John Scott.
The 'Hawks dealt their second and third-round picks in the 2013 draft to pick up Johnny Oduya from Winnipeg at the trade deadline. Chicago has just five picks in that draft.
Bowman has put an emphasis on his stockpiling of prospects since taking over from Dale Tallon. I find it hard to believe that he is going to be comfortable with the his current number of picks in the next two drafts.
Next weekend, Chicago has the 18th pick and the 48th pick in the first two rounds. Look for Bowman to attempt to bolster that number. How could Bowman go about this?
There's the option of moving a player on the current roster. Nilklas Hjalmarsson could fetch something for a team looking for defense. Bowman might believe that Dave Bolland's role on the team can be taken over by Marcus Kruger, or possibly Phillip Danault, in the future.
We could also see Bowman sell high on Viktor Stalberg or explore interest in the cheap contract of Bryan Bickell. On the other end of the spectrum, there's the $3.125 cap hit of Rostislav Olesz for which to find a prospective buyer.
We might also see Bowman dip into his pool of talent. Tallon picks like Shawn Lalonde could be headed out of town this week. The same could go for Kyle Beach. Of his own selections, Brandon Pirri could be deemed expendable if the organization doesn't find him a fit for the second line center spot.
Goalie Alexander Salak is owed $600,000 and may not be welcome in the organization. Could Bowman find a taker? It seems a stretch, but you never know when you're contemplating draft deals.
Bowman might also decide to stand pat before the draft and make the most of his eight selections. However, it's a good bet that we'll see him pull off at least one trade prior to June 22 and the start of the 2012 NHL Draft.