I was hesitant of Kubalik last season. After putting up 30 goals I didn’t think he would be able to replicate that success again and felt that the team would be better off letting him go. After seeing him play another season I feel as though he is a part of that core group. Kubalik has the skill and is a great piece in that top-six group. Should he re-sign at the conclusion of his current contract after the 2021-22 season he will be here for a long time. It is worth noting though that he probably is one of the best tradeable pieces on this roster and would net a nice return.
I didn’t know if I should include Suter on this list over someone like Strome or Hagel. But after thinking about it a little more I feel as though Suter can be a part of the team for the long term. Yes, he is currently without a contract and this is dependent upon whether or not he re-signs, but if he does this group is better with him in the mix. he was fourth on the team in points and only missed one game all season. Suter is one of the best undrafted players the team has added.
I mean, this should go without saying. Dach is the future of this team being a number three overall pick. While he did not have a great season, missing most of the year with a wrist injury, the Hawks are happy to have him. Dach will be one of the main pieces of the team in time. Personally, I do not think he is the number one guy just yet, they still are going to use him in more of a supportive role for another year or two.
Similar to Dach, Boqvist is going to be the face of the defense. The young defenseman does have some competition but he should still be a great top-four guy on this team. Boqvist is still young and might have benefitted from some time in the AHL, but now is too late for that. The team’s leading point-getter amongst defensemen will have to be even better next season.
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I had to include another defenseman and the door was wide open on who it should be. I ended up choosing Stillman over Mitchell or Beaudin because Stillman is signed through the 2023-24 season. That is the longest contract this team has and it belongs to 23-year-old defenseman Riley Stillman. Stillman did not have the largest sample size with the Hawks, but he did show some signs of promise with the team. Let’s hope his contract will look like a steal in a year or two.
So what do you think of the list? Personally, I think there are some names missing. The team needs a number one defenseman that can lead the roster, and the offense might be missing a star or two as well. But if this is the base of the team in the next two or three seasons then there is no reason they won’t be back in the playoffs.