NHL 2022 Offseason Guide: Chicago Blackhawks
The Chicago Blackhawks are quickly headed to a full on rebuild, after winning 3 Cups in 5 years from 2010-2015. The 2021 season wasn’t a good one, finishing with a grand total of 63 points, 6th worst in the league. To make matters worse, they don’t have a coach as of right now, or a first round pick. Can Kyle Davidson turn it around quickly and recreate a Cup winning team?
Roster situation is kind of in a odd spot. It’s not good, but it’s not horrible either. 4 RFA’s I would hope they give extensions to are Dylan Strome, Dominik Kubalik, Phillip Kurashev, and Kirby Dach. All four of these players are the main components to their core for the coming years. Everyone else, it gets a little fuzzy. 2 cornerstone pieces of the franchise, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, are making $10.5 million for the next year, after becoming UFA’s. The problem is, they are both in their mid 30’s, Kane being 33 and Toews being 34. What will GM Kyle Davidson do about those two? Furthermore, it was reported the other day that star winger and Assistant Captain Alex DeBrincat wanted out of Chicago.
The Hawks need a bit of everything. We don’t know how long Kane and Toews are going to keep playing, plus DeBrincat is going to leave. Davidson should ideally get a good deal for DeBrincat since he’s still young (24) and talented. He put up 78 points, with 41 goals and 37 assists, so he’s really talented offensively with room to grow. Lankinen and Colin Delia will ideally re-sign until they find that true stud goalie, as they are going to a full on rebuild. If you could, try and get maybe 2 replacement prospects for Kane and Toews and let them learn from them next year. In terms of D-men, Seth Jones was one of the main point-producing one, tallying 51 points in 78 games. The next closest was Connor Murphy who got 47 points in 57 games. However, Chicago has had a knack for finding talented defensemen, hopefully Davidson can continue that trend.
Chicago Blackhawks have $20 million in cap space this off-season, but can they motivate players to come play for a rebuilder? The majority of this team is on 1-and 2-year contracts, so most people want to get money or they’re leaving. Chicago has 4 RFA forwards that can contribute to their future, Kyle Davidson will want to sign them. 2 bottom 6 D-men in Gustafson and de Hann on UFA contracts that will probably end up leaving, which the GM can go get offense-minded guys.
The NHL Draft
2022 will be an interesting draft year for the Blackhawks, as they would’ve had a 1st round pick. Yet, they gave that up to Columbus in the Seth Jones trade. It’s not ideal when you finish bottom 5 in the league and don’t have a first, but Chicago also needed defensemen. A couple prospects they could consider are Cameron Lund, a tall, athletic C that can dish the puck along with score. Another could be Cruz Lucius, a US Development prospect with a knack for finding players in the right spot. He may not be the best goal scorer, but he can move the puck and get to open areas. The ultimate goal for Chicago would be to develop the prospects while still doing bad enough in order to get a top pick next year. The main target then? 16 year old Canadian sensation, Connor Bedard.