One pending free agent the Blackhawks can steal from their Central Division rivals this summer

The Chicago Blackhawks shouldn’t be too active in free agency this summer, but there is talent from the Central Division they can sign if they’re willing.
St Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks
St Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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Before we dive into which names would make for great fits for the Chicago Blackhawks next season, I want to be upfront with something: General manager Kyle Davidson probably won’t bring in a ton of unrestricted free agents, but as with any season, you will see new faces calling the United Center home. 

In this exercise, those Davidson may consider bringing in could be ultra-familiar faces, as they all currently play for a Central Division rival. And every year, it’s not uncommon to see someone playing for one team before they sign with another that is geographically close to their former home. This is even, at times, done via trade, and that was the case with one name in today’s slideshow. 

The following players are those Blackhawks fans will be familiar with, even if they aren’t all-stars or even considered to be that good for their current teams. But they have played well enough to at least land on Davidson’s radar this offseason. So, who should he seriously consider bringing to the Windy City from franchises within his own division? 

Liam O’Brien, Forward/Arizona Coyotes

A team like the Chicago Blackhawks can use one more edgier player on their checking lines next season, and Liam O’Brien is one of two who would fit that criteria. Ideally, the forward listed in the next slide would make for a good fit with the Blackhawks, but if they couldn’t snag him, O’Brien would make for a good, one-year consolation. 

While Chicago is a physical hockey team with 22.9 hits per game, they still rank roughly in the middle of the league overall. They still won’t compete for a playoff spot next season, so high-energy “glue players” will be paramount for keeping them in games. And someone like O’Brien fits that mold. 

This season, he played that role in Arizona, and that has been the case over the previous three seasons. During his tenure in the desert, O’Brien has 543 hits in 162 outings, good for 3.35 per game. He’s also currently leading the league with 153 penalty minutes, signaling he’s unafraid to stand up for younger teammates. 

Chicago has some physical players already like Nick Foligno, Reese Johnson, Jason Dickinson, and Mackenzie Entwistle, but Foligno and Dickinson have logged top-six minutes. That said, the Hawks need one more physical lower-liner, and O’Brien would be great if the next player on this list is not available. 


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