3 pending free agent centers the Blackhawks should avoid in NHL free agency

Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson may look to bring in an established forward to help ease the team’s scoring woes, but there are a few to avoid.
Anaheim Ducks v Chicago Blackhawks
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If Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson wants to spend some of his organization’s abundant cap space in free agency, he can. And since they had a tough time finding their game in the offensive zone, looking for a solid forward could be Priority No. 1 in NHL free agency should he bring in a player or two who have been in the NHL for a while. 

But that doesn’t mean every pending free agent is a good fit, and there are three in particular who jump out. While all these players have upside and shouldn’t disappoint Blackhawk fans if they end up in the Windy City, they are also nowhere near the best options, considering the team’s current circumstances. 

It also doesn’t mean they are universally players to avoid for other organizations, but instead, the reasons for opting to sign other forwards are unique to the Blackhawks. 

Adam Henrique, Edmonton Oilers

Adam Henrique would bring in quite a few benefits, and the 34-year-old would be a solid role player in the Windy City. Further, Henrique, and the same would go with the other two names on this list, may possibly serve as nothing more than a player who the Blackhawks would sign before trading before or at the 2025 deadline. But that’s not why the Hawks shouldn’t bring him in.

We saw it happen this past season with Henrique, who put up good numbers on one of the NHL’s worst teams before he went to the Edmonton Oilers and provided depth. Another upside with bringing in Henrique, even if it were for only a portion of the season, is that he would no longer sign for a large or long salary, plus the Blackhawks could get something valuable for him. 

But there are also no guarantees here, especially with a 34-year-old whose first full season occurred way back in 2011-12. If Kyle Davidson signed Henrique, depth and productivity, plus trade value, are all upsides, but at 34, it’s also a risk. If Henrique came in and put up a half-point per game and his defensive ability backslid, he would become a liability. 

This wouldn’t be too bad if he signed a one-year deal at a value price, but as a player who, at this point, has played good hockey, there is a chance he still wants another multi-year deal. If that were the case, anyone who signs Henrique would have a tough time getting out of that if he underperforms, especially a rebuilding team.