For the first time in awhile, the Chicago Blackhawks and general manager Stan Bowman have a bit of money to play with during free agency.
There's been lots of indications over the last week or so that the Blackhawks will be trying to add a defenseman.
They've been labelled as showing interest in Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray as well as possible landing spots for Flames defensem Travis Hamonic or TJ Brodie.
Those moves would have to be made through trade though as Murray is a restricted free agent and both Hamonic and Brodie have term left.
NHL analyst Pierre McGuire and The Atheltic's Michael Russo have labelled the Blackhawks as the top landing spot for one of this summer's biggest free agent defenseman.
The duo have the Hawks signing free agent defenseman Jake Gardiner.
Gardiner has had his ups and downs in a Maple Leafs uniform however has constantly been offensively productive over the last couple of years something the Hawks' need from the blueline. The downside is that Gardiner dealt with back spasm issues last year which is definitely worrisome considering he'll probably land a long term contract worth $6million or so a season.
He's a lefty, the spot the Hawks need help on.
McGuire says he would be shocked if Jake Gardiner doesn't sign with either the Chicago Blackhawks or the Minnesota Wild.
— NHL Prospects Watcher (@Prospects_Watch) June 11, 2019
Chicago, yes— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) June 11, 2019