One dream, one realistic, and one bargain player the Blackhawks must target in NHL free agency

The Chicago Blackhawks can find one-year stopgaps and perhaps even a long-term deal or two in NHL free agency when it kicks off next month.
Nashville Predators v Chicago Blackhawks
Nashville Predators v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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Rebuilding teams can use all the guidance their front office can give them, and the Chicago Blackhawks are one of a few organizations in that predicament. But as an original six organization playing in a large market with a compelling history, the Hawks have, even during their worst seasons, can still attract some big-name or “dream free agents.”

Today, we’re discussing one of those dream free agents who could be on the market a few weeks from today. But if they’re not, don’t fear, because we also have one player the Blackhawks could sign to a reasonable deal, and another they could ink to a low-key contract. 

Each of the following players also has not just playoff experience, but their respective teams made deep runs to at least the Conference Finals. So, let’s cover three players who could be around on July 1st and talk about why they would be great fits for the Blackhawks. 

Dream Free Agent: Matt Duchene, Dallas Stars

Ordinarily, I would have put Joe Pavelski here, but since it looks as though it’s a done deal that he will retire, someone else must take the mantle. Enter Matt Duchene, who is another older player with experience taking a team deep into the playoffs and, therefore, winning. 

Duchene’s NHL career stretches back to the 2009-10 season, and while he’s been one of the more successful players in the game, the Stanley Cup has eluded him. This could deter Duchene from signing with a team like the Blackhawks, but there is also no denying that his presence, even in his age-34 season, would more than bolster the NHL’s most stagnant scoring unit in 2023-24. 

Okay, to be real, Connor Bedard heading into his second season will organically improve the Blackhawks in that regard. But there is also no doubt that a forward who has 90 goals and 207 points in his previous 229 regular season games would more than work wonders for Chicago. 

Duchene is also showing zero signs of slowing down despite heading into his 16th season. He would bring experience, a winning mentality, and productivity, so while the odds are against the Blackhawks in him coming to town, Matt Duchene would more than reward this franchise in the short and long term.