Free Agency

Chicago Blackhawks’ Low-Cost Free Agent Targets

By Colin Likas
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Mar 24, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Anaheim Ducks forward Mike Santorelli (25) during the pre game warm up against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Blackhawks have some salary cap space, and at least a few options to use it on

In a previous post this summer, I took a look at some free agent forward options the Chicago Blackhawks could acquire. I certainly didn’t have Jordin Tootoo on that list, but the Blackhawks still have room for at least one more signing despite Tootoo’s inking.

The Blackhawks are currently healthier at defense than they were to end last season. The signings of Michal Kempny and Brian Campbell helped in that department, and the team seems comfortable with its blue-line setup despite the lack of depth in the system.

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On the forward front, however, the Blackhawks need some support. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Artem Anisimov, Artemi Panarin, Marcus Kruger, Andrew Desjardins and Richard Panik make up eight forwards the Blackhawks can most trust right now. Dennis Rasmussen, Brandon Mashinter and Tootoo are on a separate level.

That’s still just 11 forwards, with the Blackhawks typically rolling with at least 13 during the regular season. And those 11 forwards, even with a 12th added from the minors, don’t make up anywhere close to four effective lines.

General Fanager currently estimates the Blackhawks just under $2.5 million in salary cap space for next season. And even if the team is thrilled with a couple youngsters after Prospect Camp and heading into training camp, it would be wise to get at least one other proven forward into the system — and free agency is obviously the easiest way to do that.

So, let’s take a look at some guys the Blackhawks could (and should or should not) target as the month of July winds down. These will be unrestricted and restricted free agents. While most of the focus will be on the forwards, I’m also going to look at a few defensemen of interest, if the Blackhawks wanted to get creative in their future offseason maneuvers.

Next: 11 Free Agents Of Interest

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