Restricted Free Agents
The Blackhawks have five active restricted free agents and two on injured reserve. It is almost a foregone conclusion that Blackhawks will re-sign David Kampf, Brandon Hagel, Pius Suter, and Lucas Wallmark.
The question will be how much Stan Bowman is willing to invest into the kids. The big question marks are Nikita Zadorov and Alex Nylander. Zadorov has a $3,200,000 cap hit, while Nylander has a more palatable $863,333.
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Both are young players with potential that neither one has actually realized. Zadorov is a big defenseman and still relatively young. However, he has been a liability for the ‘Hawks. There are young defensemen in the pipeline- Bowman needs to move Zadorov at the trade deadline. Nylander is only 22 and has some serious speed. Last year, he tallied 26 points in 65 games. Of the two, I would prefer that Nylander gets another chance with the ‘Hawks. He is still really young and has a lot of upside.
Goalies. I will say it again, goalies. When Robin Lehner left the Chicago Blackhawks and then Bowman declined to offer Corey Crawford a contract, Blackhawks fans were flabbergasted. 21 games into the new season and Blackhawks fans are elated.
Chicago has found not one, but two goalies who appear to be the answer in goal. And the best part? Both are young and both are on contract for one more year at $850,000 and $800,000 per season. This gives the Blackhawks more resources and time to put the rest of the roster in order.
So, it has been so much fun watching the Chicago Blackhawks kids grow and become a formidable team. Winning is intoxicating. And, THAT, is exactly why Stan Bowman needs to remain disciplined and make moves for the future, not for a single season. If he makes the right moves right now, it will pay off for years to come.