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Blackhawks President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Stan Bowman joined the latest episode of NBC Sports Chicago's Blackhawks Talk Podcast. Among the topics discussed were restricted free agent center Dylan Strome's ongoing contract negotiations.
Given Kirby Dach's elevated play in the 2020 postseason, it appeared Strome would factor in as the Hawks' third line center moving forward, if given a new deal.
In light of Blackhawks captain and top line center Jonathan Toews out indefinitely with an illness, Dach out four to five months after wrist surgery, forward Alex Nylander out four to six months after knee surgery, and training camp beginning Jan. 3, Bowman gave an update on where negotiations with Strome and his agent were at.
"We're still negotiating. I don't really have much more of an update than that, other than we haven't come to an agreement yet with the agent, continuing dialogue, discussions," Bowman said on the podcast. "So at this point I can't really predict it. We're hopeful that we can get something done and he'll be in camp, but I guess it's only a few days [away] here, so we'll see how it plays out in the next few days."
Bowman later shed some light on how the current marketplace is affecting negotiations like Strome's these days.
"This negotiation isn't different than anything else, which is when the two sides align and they value the player the same way, then that's when a deal happens. Right now, we don't see eye-to-eye with the way they do," he said. "So that's why there is no contract right now. I wouldn't say it's a contentious situation. This is just part of the business. We have to do what's best for us in the short term and the long term and be cognizant of where the market is heading.
"The reality is the marketplace is shifting. The cap is going to be flat for a number of years and maybe what would have happened in previous years with contracts, maybe it was easier to come to a resolution because the cap was always inching up year over year, there was probably more money in the system. Now, all you have to do is look at the contracts that have been signed the last few weeks and you look at what the guys made the year before, good players, and look what they're signing for. There is a shift, it's happening in front of our eyes, and we just got to be patient. When it matches up between how we value the player and how the agent does, then we'll get a deal, but until that time, we just got to be patient."
Blackhawks Talk Podcast host Pat Boyle asked Bowman if the recent injuries to Hawks players have affected the negotiation and possibly provided Strome with more leverage.
"No. The leverage is not a feeling or sort of an emotional thing, it's an actual bargaining right and how the system is set up," Bowman said. "So it's not based upon a team's situation or sort of the divide on a team. It's really based upon where they are in their career, how many years pro they have, that's what dictates who has the leverage, none of these outside factors."
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