Editorials

What does the Chicago Blackhawks’ new untouchable list look like?

By Justin Klawans
Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Blackhawks have entered a new era of hockey, and their team will look drastically different even from last season.

Throughout the last decade, the Blackhawks had a consistent core of players that were mainstays on the roster every year. However, the majority of these guys have now either been traded away, signed elsewhere, or in the case of most of them, retired.

Now, the only players left that were with the Stanley Cup-winning teams are Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Nobody else on the current roster was a part of any one of the three championship clubs.

Obviously, this means that general manager Stan Bowman will have to play his cards carefully over the next few years. For better or worse, the team’s ‘rebuild’ has certainly gotten fully underway. It can probably be assumed that Bowman is done making any giant moves for the rest of this offseason.

However, while they should make the playoffs, the Blackhawks as they are now still aren’t a Stanley Cup-caliber club. This means that more pieces will need to be signed in the coming years and it’s also likely that more pieces will need to be traded for as well. The question is, who on the current ‘Hawks roster is truly untouchable?

Let’s start with the two obvious guys. The aforementioned Kane and Toews both have full no-movement clauses. Although they’re both over 30, and their current contracts both expire in 2024, I don’t see any scenario where either of them are traded. Kane is still a franchise player and one of the best snipers in the league, and Toews is the true heart of the ‘Hawks.

Obviously, given the teams’s cap situation, both Kane and Toews would likely have to take less money to stay in Chicago, but I wouldn’t expect either of them to flee town in favor of a higher paycheck.

Unless there are extenuating circumstances and another team gives an offer they can’t refuse, the two will very likely retire in a ‘Hawks sweater. This is assuming, of course, that Toews is healthy and ends up playing this year, and everything right now is pointing to him doing so.

So who else on the team is untouchable? In my opinion, the next generation of the Blackhawks is best represented by Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach. While Dach’s name had been swirling around trade rumors, none of them panned out, and he is still a young, skilled player who still has a lot of upside. An injured wrist has held him back this season, but if he gets back to form, I could see him putting up 20 to 30 points next year.

When it comes to Alex DeBrincat, I believe that he is the next face of the team after Kane. He is a unique offensive talent and someone that will be putting pucks in the net for the ‘Hawks for years to come. Site expert Jimmy Lynch argued in a recent article that DeBrincat should’ve gone top five in his draft class, and I definitely agree. Just like Kane, I don’t see any scenario in which the Cat is traded.

On the back end, the recently acquired Seth Jones just signed an eight-year, $9.5 AAV contract extension with the Blackhawks. Personally, I think that Jones is a very solid top-four defenseman that was vastly overpaid.

However, Stan Bowman obviously feels that he is the next building block of the team’s defensive core. I don’t think there’s any way that Bowman is going to turn around and trade a guy that he just paid $76 million to stay in the Windy City.

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Overall, the true untouchable players on the Chicago Blackhawks’ current roster can be counted on one hand. However, there is still a decent core to build around for the future, and for the time being, a number of players on the team are here to stay.

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