While some teams around the NHL have already begun the off-season process of re-tooling their line-ups for next season, the Blackhawks have not.
This isn’t surprising though, and the Chicago Blackhawks will likely stand pat until October. Mark these key off-season dates on your calendars because that’s when things should start moving. The NHL posted these dates in a recent press release.
The 2020 NHL Draft will be held virtually over two days. Round 1 will take place at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Rounds 2-7 will begin at 11:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 7
Free agency will open Friday, Oct. 9, at 12 p.m. ET.
The buyout window will likely need to open before Chicago does much of anything. Despite having been a middling team all year, Chicago needs cap space. Unfortunately, barring last-minute changes compliance buyouts almost certainly won’t be happening this year. Any contracts that are bought out will have a cap recapture penalty.
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Chicago has several prime candidates that could be bought out, but there’s been no word on whether or not this is going to happen. According to Powers, Zack Smith has yet to be notified if he’ll be bought out. There were no mentions of other players being bought out, including Olli Maatta, a name that has come up in numerous places as a buyout candidate.
Additionally, since free agency doesn’t open until Oct. 9, we’ll all likely need to wait to find out if Crawford was re-signed. Deals could still be made before then so if Chicago decides to send someone like Brandon Saad or Dylan Strome to another team, we may hear about it relatively soon.
Chicago’s front office will have some moves to announce, so keep a close eye on those upcoming dates. Don’t forget, the team hasn’t announced a replacement for John McDonough, as Rocky Wirtz’s son, Danny, is still in McDonough’s role. There are still some big shoes to fill.
If one thing can be said about Stan Bowman, its that he plays his cards very close to his chest. Whatever Chicago does decide to do will likely be unknown until the current season is officially over for all the teams.