Ryan Dzingel is a middle-6 caliber two-way forward who was originally drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the 7th round of the 2011 NHL Draft. He’s an interesting UFA target for the Blackhawks for a few reasons.
First, and foremost, Ryan Dzingel is a Wheaton, IL native and the Blackhawks were his favorite team growing up. While Dzingel may not be a big-time scorer, he more than makes up for it with a high motor, good defensive awareness, and durability.
Not counting his rookie season in which he played 30 games, Dzingel has only missed 8 games in the past 3 seasons. This is something that the Blackhawks have been missing for quite a while. Also, he can play center or wing which allows for flexibility in line combinations.
In 3.5 seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Dzingel posted 126 points (62G, 64A) with a -19 ± rating in 247 games. After joining the Blue Jackets at the trade deadline, he posted a stat line of 12 points (4G, 8A) with a 4 ± rating in 21 games.
Another reason that makes Ryan Dzingel a smart signing is the fact that he will be much more cap friendly. He is currently on the last year of a 2-year, $3.6 mil ($1.8 mil AAV) contract. I believe a realistic price range of $3-5 mil AAV per season is fair for all that he provides.
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Money will not be an issue for the first time in a very long time. The Blackhawks are projected to have about $22.3 mil in cap space which is more than enough to sign a difference maker and give extensions. This offseason could end up being one of the most important offseasons in Blackhawks history.
If StanBo & Co. are able to land at least one of these forwards, then I really believe the rebuild timeline for the Blackhawks could be cut in half. The idea of having a competitive team as soon as next season is really exciting for the city of Chicago.