The Blackhawks went for change.
They pursued Martin Brodeur, the best goalie available in free agency.
They made an "impressive offer," according to general manager Stan Bowman, to wing Zach Parise, by far the best forward out there. They also sent a lucrative offer to defenseman Ryan Suter, the best blue-liner available.
But the Hawks came up empty-handed. Their only free agent addition is depth defenseman Sheldon Brookbank. But despite their efforts to add notable pieces to their team, the Hawks say they still believe in what they have.
"I've got a lot of confidence and trust in our team with what we have," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We've got some great pieces. We have an extensive core and top guys."
According to Quenneville and general manager Stan Bowman, it would have been foolish not to talk to Brodeur, Parise or Suter, although if they would have added one or more of them, it could have led to more change. With the Hawks having plenty of money tied up in Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, more moves would have been inevitable if another lucrative, long-term deal was added to their books.
"It's our job to try to make our team better," Bowman said. "That's what free agency is about. You go after players you think will help your team."
But Bowman has to start producing results now. It's no secret that Bowman is under pressure to right some of his past wrongs from some of the Hawks' decision-makers. Fans are getting restless after back-to-back first-round exits.
"Our core group, I think we exited our season with an appetite where we were very disappointed with the way it ended and with something to prove," Quenneville said.
Bowman remains calm, feeling he'll have a team capable of contending for the Stanley Cup when September rolls around. He's promised for months he'll look at every trade option if necessary.
"Our objective is not to make a splash," Bowman said. "Our objective is to put a team on the ice that is going to give us the best chance to win the Stanley Cup next year. You have to look, and it's not like we have seven holes to fill."
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