Stan Bowman and the Chicago Blackhawks decided not to offer Slater Koekkoek a contract earlier this offseason, and the decision was maybe not the best.
Slater Koekkoek spent two seasons with the Blackhawks after getting traded in January of 2019 from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Koekkoek became a reliable defenseman for a ‘Hawks roster riddled with underperforming defensemen.
Chicago wanted to move on to younger players, so they did not have a spot for Koekkoek this past summer. However, now they are have given him away without getting anything in return. If Chicago had decided to sign Koekkoek this offseason and traded him away at the deadline or during the season, they might have been able to add a third-round draft pick to their team.
Koekkoek is not the only former Blackhawk to finally get a contract after waiting for most offseason. Drake Caggiula recently signed with the Coyotes. Luckily for Chicago, they won’t have to play either of those teams during the season, so they would potentially meet the first time in the playoffs.
Losing out on both of those players is going to hurt the ‘Hawks depth heading into 2021. However, considering Chicago has made it rather clear that they want to utilize younger players more often, I think it is best to move forward.
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Koekkoek and Caggiula were excellent players for the ‘Hawks during their time with the team, and I wish them the best of luck moving forward. Koekkoek going to Edmonton adds to the back and forth the two teams have had with their past players. Chicago got Caggiula from Edmonton for defensemen Brandon Manning, and now the Oilers are signing the former ‘Hawk for under a million a season.
Next season, Chicago’s blue line is going to include: Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Ian Mitchell, Adam Boqvist, Connor Murphy, Calvin de Haan, and Nikita Zadorov. Do you think having Koekkoek around would have improved the defense at all? Sure their long jam of defenders would have been larger, but it is annoying to see players walk away during free agency, which adds nothing to the team.