Blackhawks Business: Reviewing RFA Decisions

By Joseph Felicelli
Chicago Blackhawks, Brandon Hagel #38 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Chicago Blackhawks, Brandon Hagel #38 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Blackhawks, Brandon Hagel #38
Chicago Blackhawks, Brandon Hagel #38 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Deadline for all NHL teams to make qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents has now passed. The Blackhawks had 7 Restricted Free Agents on the roster to make decisions on. What decisions did they make, and how does that impact them moving forward?

As the Blackhawks march towards the free-agency period, which begins on July 28th, they have already completed the Seattle Expansion Draft, and the 2021 Entry Draft. Next up, they needed to finalize their decisions on the team’s restricted free agents, and whether or not they want to extend a qualifying offer to each of the 7 players that fall into this category.

A lot goes into this decision. The team needs to decide a) does this player fit what we are trying to do, b) does the amount of the qualifying offer fit under our financial plan, and c) will qualifying this player prevent us from pursuing any of our unrestricted free agency targets? The answer will vary depending on the player, and will factor into the lineup for the 2021-2022 season.

The Blackhawks had a group of 5 NHL forwards, 1 AHL forward, and 1 NHL Defenseman to consider qualifying, and now that we know the results, we’ll review what they did.

While there were no big names on the forward list, there were some important ones to get sorted.

Alex Nylander, Pius Suter, Brandon Hagel, Adam Gaudette, David Kampf, and Josh Dickinson all were in various stages of Restricted Free Agency. Suter, Gaudette, and Kampf are all eligible for Salary Arbitration, which means that their qualifying offer would only be the first step.

On Defense, only Nikita Zadorov is a restricted free agent, and he is eligible for salary arbitration as well.

With Arbitration, a neutral party determines the amount/value of the 1 year contract. That means the amount could end up higher or lower than the qualifying offer (rarely lower). This has salary cap implications for the team, and they have to be aware of the potential impacts.

As we review each player, I will include their qualifying offer amount as calculated by Cap Friendly as a reference.