Will the World Championships impact the Blackhawks off-season decisions?
Even if the Blackhawks didn’t compete in the postseason, some of their players still had games to play. Canada downed the United States and made it to the Gold Medal match against Finland, ultimately winning gold. Stan Bowman may have a lot to think about now that this tournament is over.
While it might seem like it’s another world, the IIHF World Championships took place already. The Chicago Blackhawks had quite a few players in the tournament, among them were several players for Team Canada. Brandon Hagel, Nicolas Beaudin, and Brandon Pirri. Will Team Canada’s performance at the Worlds impact Chicago’s plans?
It’s almost assured that Hagel is a lock to be on the opening night roster for Chicago. Barring an injury or some weird drop-off in play, Hagel will be dressing for the first game of the 2021-22 season. It’s the other two Blackhawks teammates on Canada’s roster that might complicate plans, Beaudin and Pirri.
Beaudin isn’t due a new contract for next season, but if he can perform at a high level he’ll be in the mix for opening night as well. Further, he may force Chicago’s hand a bit more when determining who gets called up, as opposed to who spends time in Rockford. The fact that he was a contributor to Canada’s Gold Medal might cause Colliton to give him a longer look when considering who to select for opening night.
Pirri, however, is due a new contract, and Chicago may consider offering him a new deal. He amounts to a veteran depth forward at this point in his career, but he’s still playing at a high level.
Of course, a lot of this hinges on what happens over the next few weeks. Who ends up being picked in the expansion draft, who is available via free agency, and what the team’s plans are regarding a plan. Is a 30-year old worth keeping in a rebuilding organization? Does Duncan Keith get traded? If Chicago goes out and acquires Dougie Hamilton or Seth Jones, what happens to Chicago’s younger defenseman, such as Beaudin?
It’s worth mentioning, these are just the players in Canada’s lineup, there were other players in the tournament. As the Blackhawks march onward with their rebuild, the World Championships may have influenced how the team proceeds for the upcoming season.