Stan Bowman didn’t instinctively reach for the phone when he heard that the St. Louis Blues had acquired goalie Ryan Miller and center Steve Ott in a blockbuster trade Friday. He didn’t start frantically searching around the league for a big splash of his own.
His answer to the Blackhawks’ biggest rivals’ biggest move: Standing pat as the March 5 trade deadline approaches.
“We’re not focused on the deadline,” he said. “We’re really happy with the team we have.”
Bowman said that acquiring winger Kris Versteeg in November was the Hawks’ “big move” and that nothing the Blues did or didn’t do was going to change that.
“You can’t be reactionary that way,” Bowman said. “Those guys haven’t even played a game yet in St. Louis. You kind of have to see how it all shakes out. But we’re more focused on what we can do. We have to play good hockey.”
Aside from adding Versteeg, the Hawks added some depth down the middle by trading for center Peter Regin before the Olympic break and waived defenseman Michael Kostka to free coach Joel Quenneville from juggling eight defensemen. Last year, the only move Bowman made at the deadline was to add center Michal Handzus, an afterthought in San Jose who turned into a key contributor for the Hawks’ Stanley Cup run.
As he said last year, Bowman said the current team has done well enough in the regular season to deserve the chance to stay together for the playoffs. So while he’s received a few inquiries from other GMs, he’s sticking with what he’s got.
“I know there is talk out there, I’m just not that focused on it because I’m really confident in our group here,” he said. “We’ve got really good chemistry, and sometimes that’s overlooked — the importance of keeping your group together, giving them a chance to show what they can do as a group, as opposed to trying to bring in new pieces. I like the group we have, and we’re excited to go to war with them.”
One possible addition could be highly touted prospect Teuvo Teravainen, whom Bowman said “hypothetically” could join the Hawks this spring once his season in Finland ends. The 19-year-old center also could play for Finland in the World Championships, instead.
Teravainen has eight goals and 33 assists in 45 games in Finland, and was the leading scorer in the World Juniors.
“The nice thing for us with Teuvo is, we don’t need to rely on him, even if he does come over,” Bowman said. “He’s not going to be the focal point of our team. At that age, you have to be careful you don’t put your expectations too high. He’s just going to be another player if he comes in. But he certainly has the talent to be able to play with high-end players here. We’re not counting on anything, but if it works out, it would be a great addition.”