Free Agency

Chicago Blackhawks’ Low-Cost Free Agent Targets

By Colin Likas
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Jan 15, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Winnipeg Jets forward Matt Halischuk (15) carries the puck during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

Matt Halischuk, RW (UFA)

Going after Halischuk with hopes he locks down an NHL roster spot this upcoming season would be a pretty weak move by the Blackhawks. He posted three points in 30 games with an awful Winnipeg team last season and doesn’t do a whole lot well. But he’s a name and made just $750,000 last season, so I threw him in here.

Cody Hodgson, C (UFA)

Hodgson missed a fair amount of time last season in Nashville, hitting just eight points in 39 games. He did, however, control play to a tune of 57.9 percent Corsi-for (though his zone starts were offensively tilted). He’s a bigger body who can win some faceoffs, too. But he’s essentially disappointed after a fine rookie campaign and probably can’t offer stability the Blackhawks would seek in their bottom six.

Jiri Hudler, C (UFA)

After a resurgent 2014-15 season that saw him post 76 points and win the Byng with a weirdly successful Calgary outfit, Hudler had a so-so 2015-16 run. He was a trade-deadline acquisition of Florida and didn’t have quite as much success with them. But he’s a guy who clearly still has some offense to … offer, and he’s of a smaller stature (5-10, 183). So right up Chicago’s alley. The $4 million cap hit, however …

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Calle Jarnkrok, C (RFA)

There’s a pretty good chance Jarnkrok will stay in Nashville, as he’s a restricted free agent who has posted a higher point total in each of his first three NHL seasons. He potted 30 points in 81 regular-season games last season, though he slipped to just a point in 14 postseason tilts. But, again, he’s the kind of guy the Blackhawks look for: smaller, speedy, capable of taking faceoffs, decent at puck possession.

David Legwand, C (UFA)

I can’t imagine a lot of Blackhawks fans wanting Legwand on the team. Pairing his years of annoying the Blackhawks in Nashville with his rising age (he’ll be 36 very soon) makes him a “meh” target. But he’s a veteran guy who’s shown ability to produce offensively and play in both zones in the past. He may just need a new setting, as his last two seasons (in Ottawa and Buffalo) were dismal. In Chicago, it’d have to be at a cap hit of less than the $3 million he had last year.

Hampus Lindholm, D (UFA)

I would really like to have Lindholm on the Blackhawks, but that door may’ve closed when Campbell was signed. Still, Anaheim seems generally clueless on what it should be doing with its roster (*cough* Ryan Kesler for a million years *cough*), so mayyyyybe the Blackhawks could swoop in grab the young, generally all-around talented blueliner. Probably not. But he made just $832,500 last season.

Dominic Moore, C (UFA)

He’s a defense-minded forward, which isn’t something the Blackhawks necessarily need unless they’re building the ultimate defensive unit with Kruger and maybe Desjardins. But he’s a veteran guy who brings some size to the table, and the occasional offensive production. He made $1.5 million last season.

Vladislav Namestnikov, C (RFA)

After struggling to receive playing time in the 2014-15 season, Namestnikov broke out to the tune of 35 points in 80 regular-season games while playing about 14 minutes a night. His playoff impact was minimal, but the 23-year-old carried the puck really well (55.2 percent Corsi-for) and could be a guy who’d get a look at multiple spots in Chicago’s lineup. He’s probably due for a raise from the $874,125 he made last season, but not by that much.

Daniel Paille, LW (UFA)

Yeah, we’ve been through this before. But he’s a veteran guy who knows the Blackhawks’ system and who could come in cheap. Why not throw him on this ever-growing list?

Brandon Pirri, C (UFA)

Speaking of knowing the Blackhawks’ system, this guy couldn’t get out of its minor-league levels. But he’s proven to be a solid NHL player in time spent with Florida and Anaheim, so why not give him a real shot in Chicago now? He’s never eclipsed 30 points in a season and is fine enough on possession, so you wouldn’t have to pay much. And pairing him with the right guys could spark something.

Rickard Rakell, RW (RFA)

How many guys does Anaheim need to re-sign? Rakell was pretty much the only thing working for the Ducks when they couldn’t score for the first two months of last season. He netted a career-best 20 goals and 43 points while possessing the puck to a tune of a 53.5 percent Corsi-for rate. He’s a bigger guy (6-2, 201) and will need more than the $832,500 he made last season, but it could be a great investment if the Ducks can’t sign Rakell due to cap constraints.

Next: A Final 11 Free Agents Of Interest

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