Wednesday was a busy day in the hockey world, and the Chicago Blackhawks were right in the thick of it during the NHL draft.
The second day of the draft concluded, and the Chicago Blackhawks came away with an interesting collection of players, the majority of which are defensemen. Make of that what you will.
Chicago’s talent pool is deeper after this draft. With Lukas Reichel and Drew Commesso, Chicago picked a couple of good players that could be significant contributors to the team. The problem is that they aren’t NHL players yet. In fact, it could be years before these two join the team, and Chicago will need to fill roster spots now.
Fortunately, today was also the deadline for teams to qualify restricted free agents. So far, as reported by Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times and others, Chicago made clear that they had qualified Kubalik (hooray!) and Strome (yeah!), but that’s it as far as anyone seems to know.
Pope also noted in his Twitter feed that Chicago wasn’t publicly announcing who was and wasn’t qualified like other teams, and Tweeted out a bit more information:
Interestingly, it was reported by a variety of outlets that some players around the league that were formerly part of the Blackhawks organization were NOT qualified by their teams. Brendan Perlini (DET), Dominik Kahun (BUF), Anthony Duclair (OTT), and Nathan Noel (PHI) were all previously with Chicago but will now be exploring free agency.
Considering how Bowman likes to re-acquire former players, it wouldn’t be surprising to see one or two of these guys suit back up for Chicago. Kahun and Duclair are actually decent players, but for one reason or another haven’t found a club that has been a long-term home. Would that be the best option? It’s hard to say, but there is a history of Bowman making these kinds of moves.
With Chicago apparently choosing not to qualify a large number of their RFAs, the complexion of the team will change even if the roster spots are filled by people already in the organization.
Next, free agency! Will Corey Crawford be with Chicago again next year? We’ll finally have a quick answer to that question and many others when the NHL starts their free agency on October 9th at noon eastern!