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Two Cases Where Early Extensions Can Benefit the Blackhawks

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LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 6: Dylan Strome #17 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates after scoring a goal during the second period against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on December 6, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 6: Dylan Strome #17 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates after scoring a goal during the second period against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on December 6, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Getting early extensions done for Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome should be at, or near, the top of Stan Bowman’s to-do list this summer. Early extensions can save the Blackhawks money in the long run, which is crucial in the Salary Cap era.

Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome currently have one year left on their entry-level contracts. By now, StanBo & Co. have a pretty good idea of what they have in DeBrincat and Strome. It would be wise for the Blackhawks to strike a deal now while they still have some room to negotiate.

Just think of how sweet it would be to see both DeBrincat and Strome in a Blackhawks sweater next season, and then, 8 more after that! This makes me extremely excited for the future of the franchise.

Alex DeBrincat

Alex DeBrincat took his game to the next level in his 2nd NHL season, which is what we all wanted to see. As DeBrincat’s point totals and efficiency improve, so does his earning potential. I’m sure StanBo & Co. realize this. Hopefully, they are considering working out an extension as soon as possible.

After taking a closer look at Alex DeBrincat’s 2nd season, it’s easy to see that he doesn’t believe in sophomore slumps. DeBrincat’s breakout season started in the 2018 IIHF Men’s World Championship, where he put up 9 points (1G, 8A) in 10 games. His IIHF MWC success carried over into the regular season, where he looked like a proven veteran and a savvy sniper.

During the 2018-19 NHL season, DeBrincat set new career highs across the board, with 76 points (41G, 35A) in 82 games.

When you look around the league at other elite scorers, you notice a few more zeroes on the end of their checks. Alex DeBrincat will be right up there with them on his next contract. As for a projected salary range, I believe a realistic and fair range would be right around $5-7 mil AAV per season. It would be smart to lock in a price, either this offseason or during the season, to prevent his performance from raising his price even more.

Dylan Strome

Dylan Strome finally found his footing after joining the Blackhawks and reuniting with his former teammate and roommate, Alex DeBrincat. Strome had a very forgettable stint with the Arizona Coyotes after they constantly misused him and crushed his confidence.

A fresh start with the Blackhawks has Dylan Strome looking like the player everyone thought he could be, when the Coyotes drafted him 3rd overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. In just over half of a season with the Blackhawks, Strome posted 51 points (17G, 34A) in 58 games. When projected over an entire season, those 51 points would become 72 points. It’s safe to say Strome’s future is looking bright in Chicago.

Dylan Strome’s emergence in Chicago certainly boosted his projected salary range, but he’s still not quite in the same ballpark as Alex DeBrincat yet. After seeing his improved play in 2018-19, I could easily see Strome in the $3-5 mil AAV range.

Time Is Money

This situation will definitely be an ongoing theme this offseason, and could possibly linger into next season if extensions aren’t finalized before then. There is also the possibility that DeBrincat and Strome put off signing extensions until after next season altogether, which is fine. At that point, it’s safe to assume their asking prices will be higher than they are now. This extension situation is the perfect embodiment of the age-old saying, “Time is money.” In the meantime, we’ll just have to wait and see when the time is right.

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