Brandon Saad a Calder Trophy finalist as a left wing last season will get the first crack at the Blackhawks’ vacant second-line center spot coach Joel Quenneville said Wednesday as training camp began at Notre Dame.

“We’re going to try it” Quenneville said. “He’s good with the puck he’s a big banger he’s a big body and he can see and make plays well. He protects the puck well. Defensively [the center] has a little more responsibility down low in our own end. That’s where the growth will have to come. But I think both sides of the puck he’s got a pretty good mind for the game.”

Brandon Pirri the AHL’s leading scorer last year is another candidate. Michal Handzus who held that spot during the playoffs will start with a smaller role this season Quenneville said.

Bowman extended

The Hawks announced a two-year contract extension for general manager Stan Bowman. He’s now signed through the 2017-18 season.

Bowman the youngest GM in the NHL at 40 essentially inherited the 2010 Stanley Cup team from his predecessor Dale Tallon when he took over July 14 2009. But over the next few years after having to dismantle much of the team for salary reasons Bowman rebuilt the Hawks through savvy trades (Viktor Stalberg Michael Frolik Johnny Oduya Handzus) and drafting (Saad Andrew Shaw). In June they became the first team to win two Cups in the salary-cap era and Bowman has managed to keep the core of the team signed to long-term deals.