Blackhawks: Kubalik or Strome which would you keep?

Dylan Strome #17, Dominik Kubalik #8, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Dylan Strome #17, Dominik Kubalik #8, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Blackhawks might not have the money to keep both Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome heading into next season. So there is going to need to be a decision made on who we keep moving forward.

The Chicago Blackhawks have right now 7 million projected in cap space for next season. Let’s say the Blackhawks make Strome and Kubalik their number one priority. That means the team only has seven million to split between the two of them, and Kubalik is coming off a Calder Trophy caliber season.

Let’s imagine Chicago can only keep either Strome or Kubalik. There are reasons to pick either one of those guys, and I want to lay it out to you for both players. Keep both would be what is best for the Blackhawks, but unfortunately, our salary cap dictates that it might not be the case.

Dylan Strome might not have had the best second season with Chicago after being acquired in November of 2018, but that still does not mean he can not be a threat in Chicago. Strome has chemistry with Alex DeBrincat, and the two can pair up to be a great threat in Chicago if the Blackhawks choose to keep Strome over Kubalik.

I love having great wingers, but to me having depth at center is more important. Keeping Strome would allow the Blackhawks to have three really good centers in the next five or so years. Dylan Strome, Kirby Dach, and Jonathan Toews can lead the Blackhawks down the middle, and as the years move on, Dach and Strome can take on bigger roles while Toews ages and moves to the third line.

Keeping Strome makes Chicago better in the long term, as it keeps Strome and DeBrincat together while also giving the Blackhawks a number one center for the next ten years, assuming the Blackhawks can get Strome to re-sign after a potential bridge deal.

Don’t forget about Dominik Kubalik though. Chicago has been looking desperately for a legitimate threat to play alongside Jonathan Toews for the past few seasons, and it looks like Kubalik might be their guy. He has speed and a great shot, and he is a Calder Trophy finalist. The biggest pro to Kubalik in my opinion is the fact that the Blackhawks already have a little more depth at center than they do on the wings.

Outside of Kubalik, the Blackhawks have Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad, and Alex Nylander as their big wingers. Kubalik on the roster gives the Blackhawks a scoring touch that the team needs from their wingers. Losing Kubalik after just one season would really hurt the team in the short term.

There is no simple fix to Chicago’s cap problems. Not keeping Kubalik and Strome would hurt the Blackhawks as they are two big pieces of the team moving forward. However, keeping both of these guys would also hurt the Blackhawks’ depth.

Using all seven million of our cap space on Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome would also leave other important pieces of the Blackhawks out of the picture. Drake Caggiula, Corey Crawford, and Slater Koekkoek are also on expiring deals, and keep a few of those guys around also might be important to the team.

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What do you think is the right answer to fix Chicago moving forward? Would you rather keep Dylan Strome or Dominik Kubalik? While it is fun to look at this question right now, I assume their play in the play-in series might factor into their new contracts, so only more time will help make this situation clearer.