The Chicago Blackhawks will probably not be bigger spenders in free agency this summer.
The Hawks will once again have plenty of salary cap space, but much like last summer, do not expect general manager Kyle Davidson to go an extravagant shopping spree.
Davidson wants to have as much cap flexibility during this rebuilding phase and does not want to bog down the team’s cap with expensive contracts. Well, he will take on bad contracts but only if a draft pick is attached to it.
Davidson does have a projected $38.885 million in cap space to spend this summer to make roster improvements.
That number will shrink a bit as Alex Vlasic is in line to get a raise due to his pending restricted free agency.
Lukas Reichel will probably get a bridge deal in his second contract.
Davidson has always kept future salary caps in mind when it comes to spending. He knows he will have to pay Connor Bedard and Kevin Korchinski someday. All these talented prospects in the pipeline will get their entry-level contracts soon. While that will not destroy the Hawks’ salary cap situation, eventually having to pay some of these prospects who pan out will.
So, expect Davidson to make sure the Blackhawks meet the spending floor. It does not mean Davidson should not pursue free agents who can help the team in the short term.
One pending free agent the Chicago Blackhawks is the Seattle Kraken’s Jorden Eberle.
The Athletic’s Blackhawks beat writer Scott Powers recently suggested this and his reasoning is sound.
The winger is currently wrapping a five-year deal where he was a $5 million salary cap hit. He will be 34 next season and he can set up his teammates for goals with the best of them. Eberle currently has 19 assists on the season. He would be a nice linemate for Bedard to have next season with that assist production.
He has nine goals so far this season and has racked up 20 or more goals in eight of his 14 seasons. Eberle scored 20 goals and dished out 43 assists last season. He has played in 75 or more games eight times during his career including skating in all 82 games last season. He has suited up in 46 this season.
Eberle is also careful with the puck with just 13 giveaways to 34 takeaways this season. Eberle is also averaging .7 goals per 60 this season along with 1 assist per 60 in all situations. The year before he had .9 goals per 60 and 1.4 assists per 60.
On the power play, his numbers jump to 1.6 goals per 60 and 2.7 assists per 60 this season.
Eberle is still productive and being 34 might restrict how many years he gets on his next deal. The Blackhawks have the cap space to give him an above market deal to persuade him to take a short-term contract.
The only issue is the Hawks are still years away from being a Stanley Cup contender. He might prefer to stay in Seattle and chase a cup or sign with another contender to go after a title.
Money and the chance to see his assist numbers probably go up playing with Bedard might also be attractive to Eberle. With him still producing at a high level, let’s hope that attraction draws him to Chicago