What Happens Now?
I believe the Blackhawks had both good and bad decisions in their RFA decisions. Qualifying Zadorov, if for a trade, makes sense, but keeping him in my opinion does not. His role should really be a 3rd pairing D-man, and the ‘Hawks have several of those that don’t cost $3.2M. Kalynuk, Caleb Jones, and even Beaudin could be better options economically, especially after paying for Seth Jones.
Bringing back Hagel was a no-brainer, and signing Gaudette in my opinion will rate as one of the better moves of this offseason. Not tendering Suter, and tendering Nylander could come back to bite them, but Suter should do well on the open market.
Moving forward, the ‘Hawks opened up a roster spot upfront with not qualifying Suter, and can fill that spot with Toews or Nylander, or a player to be named later.
Now that this portion of the offseason schedule is out of the way, The Blackhawks are primed and ready to get into the Free Agency period. There are several areas where the ‘Hawks could use an upgrade, and several moves that could be made to make room for young players, better players, or new players.
Strome, Zadorov, Brett Connolly, and Ryan Carpenter are holding roster spots on the NHL squad. Will they all still hold one by the time training camp rolls around? Could one or more of them be part of deals to maneuver for players that help them get better now? Could they weaponize their cap space to bring in more assets for the future?
We will get to find out as the next few weeks bring a bevy of moves and changes to teams around the NHL. How much will the Blackhawks change with them?