The Chicago Blackhawks are shifting their attention toward the future.
The team released a statement to season-ticket holders Tuesday and admitted they're focused on rebuilding the roster.
"We recently said goodbye to a pair of popular, two-time champions and acquired some new players via trade and free agency," the statement read. "We understand it was tough to see those respected veterans go and realize you may have some questions about our direction. We'd like to address that direction and share why we're hopeful for the future of Blackhawks hockey.
"We're committed to developing young players and rebuilding our roster. We want more than another window to win; we want to reach the summit again, and stay there - an effort that will require a stockpile of emerging talent to complement our top players."
The Blackhawks veteran core reportedly voiced their frustration last week with the team's moves this offseason. Chicago allowed perennial puck-stopper Corey Crawford to walk in free agency, dealt goal-scorer Brandon Saad, and opted not to extend qualifying offers to Drake Caggiula and Slater Koekkoek.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who said the team's moves came "as a shock," and superstar Patrick Kane each have three years remaining on their contracts.
General manager Stan Bowman said he spoke with Toews, Kane, Brent Seabrook, and Duncan Keith to ensure everyone is on the same page.
"We had a very good discussion, in-depth discussion about where we're going," Bowman said, according to NBC Sports' Charlie Roumeliotis. "I think part of this communication here is to clear up some miscommunications or perceptions.
"It's really not a rebuild in a (sense) of 'we're tearing this down and we're just getting rid of all the players.' Sometimes you do have to make difficult decisions to trade away popular players and it's hard for our veterans who've been together."
The Blackhawks upset the Edmonton Oilers in four games in the best-of-five play-in round in 2019-20. Chicago missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons before this past campaign.
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