“What you’re going to have with a hard salary cap, you have to keep bringing in younger players all the time,” Wirtz said. “You can’t just go up the free-agent market and buy a team. You have to do it the old-fashioned way and it’s developing it.”
They certainly made all the right moves this year, when the Blackhawks stormed to the league’s best record for the lockout-shortened season. They earned at least one point in the first 24 games, setting an NHL record.
The banner regular season raised expectations for the playoffs, and the NHL’s top-seeded team nearly faltered in the second round against the Red Wings. Chicago dropped three of the first four games against Detroit before winning three in a row to advance.
Toews and Co. seemed to find their stride after they were nearly eliminated by the Red Wings, ending the Kings’ title defense in five games in the Western Conference finals and closing out the Bruins with three straight victories.
The dramatic Game 6 win in Boston made Chicago the first team to win the Presidents’ Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the same season since Detroit in 2008. The Presidents’ Trophy goes to the team with the most points in the regular season.
“It was that type of season where we did a lot of good things right,” Quenneville said Monday night. “Commend the competitiveness and the perseverance of our team, especially the way things ended. It was that type of season, and it was special.”
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap