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Chicago Blackhawks: Zach Parise or No, Stan Bowman Needs a Plan B

While the NHL awaits decisions by Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, Stan Bowman had better be planning the Chicago Blackhawks' next move.
While the NHL awaits decisions by Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, Stan Bowman had better be planning the Chicago Blackhawks' next move.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Jon FromiSenior Analyst IJuly 3, 2012

Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman still has some work to do regardless of with which NHL franchise free agent forward Zach Parise chooses to play. Lest Bowman forgets while awaiting Parise's decision, there are other fish for the team to fry.

Whether Parise signs with the 'Hawks or not, Bowman would do well to keep his line in the water.

Believe it or not, the NHL has not ceased operations while top UFA's Parise and Ryan Suter mull their options. A few teams have been active. On the surface, it does not appear that Chicago is one of them.

Calgary signed Jiri Hudler away from the Red Wings yesterday. Winnipeg picked up Olli Jokinen. Dallas and Buffalo swapped Steve Ott and Derek Roy, two players who could possibly been on Bowman's radar.

Bowman's big move Monday was signing AHL scorer Martin St. Pierre in a move likely designed to boost the offensive production in Rockford. As many of the potential fits are snapped up, Bowman has yet to address his team's issues at center or finished reshaping the blue line.

(NOTE: Following an announcement from the IceHogs, it appears that St. Pierre has signed an AHL deal with Rockford. Here's the announcement. Brookbank stands alone as the lone Bowman signing as of 10:30 a.m. July 3.)

Just as it's hard to read the minds of the top free agents, it's difficult to be aware of just how active or passive Bowman has been over the past few days. The only tangible proof of Chicago's activity is St. Pierre, who likely won't suit up for the 'Hawks, and defenseman Sheldon Brookbank.

Perhaps Bowman has several irons in the fire. Like several NHL GMs, it's possible that he is going to proceed depending on where Parise and Suter wind up. There could be a bevy of action in the Blackhawks' camp in the hours following the destination of the top free agents.

That seems to be true whether Bowman lands one of them or not.

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