The Chicago Blackhawks could not be in a better position right now, well, that is for a team on the rebuild. General Manager Kyle Davidson has loaded the docket for the next few drafts and landed the best prospect to come around since Connor McDavid. Additionally, in jettisoning players, the Blackhawks have roughly $40 million in cap space.
With all of that good fortune does come tricky decisions. Leading into the 2023-2024 season, the Blackhawks sit at about $42.5 million accounted for in salary according to Cap Friendly. To meet the league minimum, the Hawks will have to spend about $21 million, and that is exactly what they should plan to do. Filling out the entire cap space makes zero sense.
That brings up the question, who do the Blackhawks add to fill out that cap space? The first choice must certainly be Max Domi. His contract is in the sweet spot for a player who will likely be in town for a few years, about $3 to $5 million per year. He may be in demand due to his play in the playoffs, but the Hawks are in a position to add a little more to the salary for about three years.
While a Blackhawk this past season, Domi played 60 games. He tallied 49 points with 18 goals and 31 assists. He moved on to Dallas near the trade deadline. To end the regular season, Domi put up seven goals in 20 games, in a more diminished role. Through the 2023 playoffs, Domi has notched 11 points in 13 games. He isn't a prolific as a scorer, but he is definitely consistent. The Blackhawks don't need to win every game next year, that should still be a few years off, but his offensive capability will help keep the fans happy and help garner some wins.
The real reason the Blackhawks should sign Domi is simple, he would be a perfect accompaniment to Connor Bedard. Not only can he help him learn the NHL game, but he can add a measure of protection. If Davidson throws Bedard out there with a couple other first year players, it will be like lambs to a slaughter. Domi is known as a scrappy player who finishes checks, lays hits, blocks shots and sticks up for his teammates. He is perfect for Bedard's development.
Step one is get Domi. Step two should be to resign Andreas Athanasiou. He was good in Chicago, fun to watch and seems interested to return. He also played really well beside Lukas Reichel. Keep that together and add a little more to the Cap.