Is the 2024-2025 Chicago Blackhawks' Roster Starting to Take Shape?

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Great Lakes Invitational / Michael Miller/ISI Photos/GettyImages

With just two games remaining and the second-best odds to land Macklin Celebrini wrapped up, the Chicago Blackhawks will start to plan for next season's roster imminently.

Frank Nazar, Ethan Del Mastro, and Landon Slaggert have all made their professional debuts of late, while Connor Bedard, Kevin Korchinski, and Alex Vlasic have all enjoyed prosperous seasons. Despite a losing season in the standings, there is actually quite a bit to be positive about.

What could a potential 2024-2025 opening night roster look like?

Likely Roster Forwards (10): Andreas Athanasiou, Nick Foligno, Jason Dickinson, Philipp Kurashev, Ryan Donato, Connor Bedard, Frank Nazar, Lukas Reichel, Landon Slaggert, Taylor Hall

RFA Decisions Ahead (4): Mackenzie Entwistle, Reese Johnson, Joey Anderson, and Taylor Raddysh

UFA Re-Sign Options: Colin Blackwell and Tyler Johnson (Unlikely to sign either despite both being good locker room veterans).

Prospects Trying to Make the Roster in Camp: Gavin Hayes, Paul Ludwinski, Colton Dach, Ryder Rolston, Cole Guttman, Sam Savoie, Aiden Thompson, and Nick Lardis (some NCAA decisions are yet to be made concerning some prospects as well)

Forward Notes: The 10 listed forwards should all be on the opening night lineup sheet, whereas the 4 restricted free agents will be tough calls on the part of Kyle Davidson. More likely than not is that Davidson does not tender offers and instead signs 2 veteran free agents to deals to help complete the teams roster of forwards (12).

Likely Defenseman (5): Seth Jones, Connor Murphy, Kevin Korchinski, Alex Vlasic, Wyatt Kaiser

UFA Re-Sign Options: Nikita Zaitsev, Jarred Tinordi, Jaycob Megna

Prospects Trying to Make the Roster in Camp: Ethan Del Mastro, Nolan Allen, Isaak Phillips, Louis Crevier

Defenseman Notes: While there now seems to be a good mix of 4 blue liners in the top 4, the emergence of Wyatt Kaiser should also give Luke Richardson a good 3rd pairing option to open the season. His partner on said 3rd pairing is a mystery however. The 3 UFA veterans have not been great for Chicago, with only Zaitsev being useful when healthy and an option to being re-signed.

The likely scenario here is that Kyle Davidson signs a veteran defender to a 1 year deal to help solidify the 3rd pairing. While one of the prospects mentioned could get a look in camp, it's more likely that each will get their chances as next season progresses.

Goaltenders: Petr Mrazek

RFA Decisions: Arvid Soderblom

Prospects Trying to Make the Roster: Drew Commesso, Jaxson Stauber

Goaltending Notes: This is clearly Mrazek's team now in net (for the next 2 years at least) while the decision on Soderblom has likely been made already (not tender an offer). Stauber and Commesso will likely be the tandem in Rockford again. Adam Gajan and Dominic Basse are too young (Gajan) and regressing (Basse) as prospects. Look for the Hawks to take another goalie in the upcoming draft. It seems likely that Davidson will try out a veteran net minding on a 1 year deal as a stop-gap measure.

Wildcard: If the Blackhawks land one of the top 2 selections in the draft, this player (either Macklin Celebrini or Artyom Levshunov) would likely make the opening night lineup card for Chicago. Outside of the top 2 picks, it is unlikely the player would be a day 1 NHL player.

Recap and what the opening night lines could look like:

L1 Hall - Bedard - Kurashev

L2: Reichel - (Veteran Signing or Celebrini) - Donato

L3: Foligno - Nazar - Dickinson

L4: Slaggert - Athanasiou - (Veteran Signing or Prospect Makes Team)

D1: Vlasic - Jones

D2: Korchinski - Murphy

D3: Kaiser - (Levshunov or Veteran Signing)

G: Mrazek - (Veteran Signing)

Time will tell, but it seems clear that it is too early to invest in big money / long term free agents and that the prospect core is still at least another year away from joining the Blackhawks. While next season won't be a playoff roster (unlikely) a team that is much improved is expected.