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Blackhawks Offseason 2012: Chicago Confident Heading Into NHL Draft

The Chicago Blackhawks have already signed several would-be free agents, and that combined with the overall strength of the roster puts the franchise in an advantageous position heading into the 2012 NHL draft, according to GM Stan Bowman.

"We're a little bit ahead of it compared to previous years," Bowman said Tuesday. "We have a lot of these guys taken care of before we hit July. There are a lot of teams looking to find players so I think it's kind of dealing from a position of strength if we choose to make moves.

"Some teams have six-seven holes they need to fill and they probably have a different task with a lot of uncertainty but for the most part we know what our roster is going to be with some minor tweaks here and there."

Related: Blackhawks Offseason 2012: Chicago Re-Signs Brandon Bollig, Ben Smith

The Blackhawks have eight picks in the draft, with their first coming at No. 18 overall.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage, head over to Blackhawks blog Second City Hockey. And for more news and notes from around hockey, visit SB Nation's NHL news hub.