Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman may be on the hunt for a defenseman come July. What's available to the 'Hawks as they attempt to upgrade on the back end?
Bowman has failed to put together a defensive corps that coach Joel Quenneville has faith in the last two seasons. His top pairing of Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith is carrying a big share of minutes for Chicago. Quenneville is going to need to play his third pairing with more confidence than he had this past campaign.
It would also be nice to see a physical defender who can alleviate traffic in front of the net on the second pairing. Whether Bowman goes out with a plan to address one or both of these needs depends on how things shake out at home in the next month.
The 'Hawks need to decide if UFA Johnny Oduya is worth re-signing. At the right price, Oduya could play 15 minutes a night on the third line and be an asset. Steve Montador's health status will also be a factor. Bowman and Quenneville must also agree on whether Dylan Olsen is ready to be used on a nightly basis.
Depending on those three players and how the market breaks, Bowman could move forward two ways. He could be looking for a top-three defender at a premium rate. He also could be aiming for a $2-3 million dollar signing to provide depth.
Here are 10 unrestricted free agents who could fit the bill on one of these two counts.