Christian Djoos, of the Washington Capitals, could be a name to watch on the RFA market. He is 3rd pairing caliber left-handed defenseman who would be an upgrade over current Blackhawks’ defensemen Gustav Forsling and Carl Dahlstrom. Djoos is also Swedish and we all know Stan Bowman’s track record with Swedish defensemen.
Christian Djoos won’t cost much, as he’s on the final year of a 2 year, $1.3 mil ($650k AAV) deal. Worst case scenario, the most Djoos would cost is a 3rd round pick in the $1,395,054 – $2,113,716 tier.
Jakub Vrana, also of the Washington Capitals, came on strong in his 3rd NHL season. Lately, Vrana spent most of his time on the 2nd line as a two-way forward. He was a 20-20 guy this season, as he posted 47 points (24G, 23A) in 82 games with a 20 ± rating.
Jakub Vrana is currently playing out the final year of a 3-year, $4.275 mil ($1.425 mil AAV) entry-level deal. Vrana would probably end up costing the Blackhawks a 2nd round pick in the $2,113,717 – $4,227,437 tier.
Andre Burakovsky is another Washington Capitals RFA. It’s really hard to get an accurate read on the type of player Burakovsky is. He can be really streaky and hit or miss. These could all be reasons why Washington possibly moves on from him.
With Burakovsky, talent is not the problem. His production just isn’t very consistent. Through 5 NHL seasons, he has produced 145 points (62G, 83A) in 328 games with a 34 ± rating.
Andre Burakovsky is finishing up the final year of a 2-year, $6 mil ($3 mil AAV) deal. He might get a slight raise, but it’s really hard to justify. Burakovsky could end up in two tiers, $2,113,717 – $4,227,437 (one 2nd round pick) or $4,227,438 – $6,341,152 (one 1st round, one 3rd round pick).
Haydn Fleury is an interesting RFA, mainly because he hasn’t spent much time in the NHL yet. In his 1st season, he played 67 games, but only had a minor impact — 8 points (8A) with a -2 ± rating. This season, he only played 20 games in the NHL and 28 games with the Charlotte Checkers (AHL).
Haydn Fleury is on the final year of a 3-year, $5.325 mil ($1.775 mil AAV) entry-level deal. It’s a little tricky trying to predict Fleury’s next contract value, but I could see him staying relatively close to what he earned on his last deal. For that reason, I will keep him in his current tier of $1,395,054 – $2,113,716 which would cost the Blackhawks a 3rd round pick.
Potential Trade Targets
- Justin Faulk (CAR)
- Brett Pesce (CAR)
- Darnell Nurse (EDM)
- Oscar Klefbom (EDM)
- William Nylander (TOR)
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Looking into the RFA market around the league is a great option for the Blackhawks, but they can’t forget about their own RFAs. Brendan Perlini, David Kampf, Gustav Forsling, Dylan Sikura, Slater Koekkoek, Victor Ejdsell, Anthony Louis, Luke Johnson, Spencer Watson, Blake Hillman, and Anton Forsberg will all be RFAs.
There are tons of ways to improve the Blackhawks roster ahead of next season, so we better not hear any excuses from StanBo & Co. They simply cannot coast through another offseason and expect to see improvement and different results. This is a crucial crossroads for the Blackhawks’ franchise as a whole. Let’s hope they take the right path.