Blackhawks Free Agency: Day One Recap
By Jimmy Lynch
The whirlwind experience of free agency is finally here and the Blackhawks made a big splash on day one.
Blackhawks fans have been excited for this day for a while now. Players like Joe Pavelski, Ryan Dzingel, and Anders Lee have been linked to the Blackhawks in the previous weeks as potential targets. Stan Bowman surprised everyone with his moves today, opting to sign other players.
Ryan Carpenter – 3-year, $3 mil deal ($1 mil AAV)
Ryan Carpenter is not a flashy player, but he will get the job done. The Blackhawks added a depth player to start the free agency frenzy in Chicago.
Carpenter will be a big player on the Blackhawks’ penalty kill and is someone the Blackhawks can rely on for a faceoff win.
Carpenter has been a big part of the Vegas Golden Knights. He had his best season last year by putting up 16 points and posting a 52.6 FOW%.
The Blackhawks may have not added a big goal scorer in free agency, but they did add a solid two-way player who contributes on both ends of the ice.
David Kampf – 2-year, $2 mil deal ($1 mil AAV)
The Blackhawks will be deep at the center position next season. The ‘Hawks resigned David Kampf to a 2-year contract.
Kampf just finished his first full season in the NHL, with some success on the Blackhawks’ fourth line. The biggest question mark to me is: who will get more playing time Kampf or Carpenter?
Both players will be playing a similar role next season, so the competition is very much alive for the Blackhawks’ fourth line center spot. Having depth will be important if the Blackhawks hope to return to the postseason.
Robin Lehner – 1-year, $5 mil deal ($5 AAV)
The Blackhawks’ most surprising and arguably best move came towards the end of the first day of free agency with Robin Lehner.
Adding Lehner to the mix gives the Blackhawks some flexibility in net going forward. Corey Crawford‘s contract ends after the 2019-2020 season, as does Lehner’s.
Robin Lehner was a finalist for the Vezina last season. The Blackhawks now have a future number one goalie, if Crow feels it’s best to move on, or retire, after the 2019-20 season concludes.
Corey Crawford has had a lot of injury problems over the past few years. Every Blackhawks fan knows that. It might be time for Crow to move on from hockey and retire with 2 Stanley Cups to his name.
Crow may not be at 100% yet, so adding Lehner gives the Blackhawks a new number 1 goaltender. This could possibly be the best goaltending tandem in the NHL. Stan Bowman seems to think so.
The Blackhawks’ goalie tandem of Crow and Lehner can split the season evenly in the net. With 2 goalies capable of being a number 1 for their team, the Blackhawks will literally be in good hands and have some great goaltending this year.
The Blackhawks did not make any flashy moves this year during free agency, but they made the right moves. Adding a player like Ryan Carpenter gives the Blackhawks a stable defensive presence and good penalty killing.
Re-signing David Kampf will only help add to the depth the Blackhawks have in the bottom six, and bringing in Robin Lehner instantly gives the Blackhawks a Vezina caliber starting goalie.
The trades the Blackhawks have made in the last few days helped the ‘Hawks upfront and on the back-end, but it also helped eliminate any cap space the Blackhawks were going to use on big name free agents.
With the smaller moves the Blackhawks made today, they are ready to compete come day one next season.