The Chicago Blackhawks basically stood pat as the NHL's trade deadline passed Wednesday, March 5.
There were 20 trades on deadline day and 10 more the day before. The Blackhawks, a contender to return to the Stanley Cup Finals, were involved in only one trade, acquiring defensemen David Rundblad and Mathieu Brisebois from Phoenix. Neither will make much of an impact, at least this year.
While it may have been fun to imagine players the likes of Ryan Kesler — who ended up remaining with Vancouver — pulling on a Chicago jersey, Blackhawks fans should not have been surprised.
With a payroll near the league's salary cap, the Blackhawks had limited flexibility.
"In order to make moves, you're going to have to trade money away. We don't have any players we want to trade away," general manager Stan Bowman said on the team's website.
Translation: We already have a pretty good team.
Still, there are areas in which the Blackhawks could stand some improvement. The No. 2 center position is just as unsettled as when the season started, with Peter Regin only the latest candidate to get a shot at that role. The No. 6 defenseman slot has been a revolving door among flawed players. Rundblad will be the latest to join that rotation.
But Bowman and Blackhawks are content to enter the NHL's stretch run and a likely playoff spot with a roster spearheaded by Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith. That's a pretty strong hand to play.
Another point to consider: Most of the trades the last two days were made by Eastern Conference teams trying to shore up their playoff hopes. The Blackhawks' top rivals in the Western Conference were mostly silent as well. St. Louis made its major move last week by picking up goalie Ryan Miller, while Anaheim made a couple minor moves. Farther down the West pecking order, Los Angeles and Minnesota added scorers in Marion Gaborik and Matt Moulson, respectively.
The top teams in the West were already stacked. Now it's time to watch it play out.
Terry Mark is The Elkhart Truth's news editor and an avid fan of the Chicago Blackhawks.