Editorials

5 Forwards the Blackhawks Should Be Targeting in Free Agency

By Tony Gianares
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 31: Artemi Panarin
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 31: Artemi Panarin /
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COLUMBUS, OH – APRIL 14: Ryan Dzingel #19 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Three of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 14, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH – APRIL 14: Ryan Dzingel #19 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Three of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 14, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Ryan Dzingel

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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Final Thoughts

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.

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