Philipp Kurashev has Outplayed his Extension

Ya think
Chicago Blackhawks v Vancouver Canucks
Chicago Blackhawks v Vancouver Canucks / Derek Cain/GettyImages

It wasn't too long ago that during the transition from one era of Blackhawks hockey (the Dynasty era no less) into the rebuild that many wondered where Philipp Kurashev would ultimately end up. Would he be traded away? Would he sign a short term 1 year "prove it" deal to solidify his roster spot? In the end, as exactly predicted by Blackhawk Up, Kurashev would sign a 2 year 4.5 million extension.

The 2.25 million cap deal not only kept an important piece in the fold at a low number, but it also held Kurashev's RFA status intact. This was excellent negotiation by GM Kyle Davidson. At the time, Kurashev was an unknown in terms of what his NHL future would ultimately become. Today however, it appears the Blackhawks can pencil him into a top 6 role for the foreseeable future.

Kurashev is an extremely talented offensive forward and while this has always been the case, it is only evident this year that he could blossom into an outstanding all around player as well. Still, the highlight plays were evident early:

With 29 points in 47 games this season so far (51 point pace per 82) Philipp already has set a new career high in points and assits (20). Consistency, effort, and an expanding two-way game are all apparent as we watch him this campaign. Health also seems to be a factor as the Swiss born former 4th round selection has played in 87% of the teams matches which is around 4% higher than the combined 2 years prior.

Playing with franchise center Connor Bedard clearly is something that Philipp Kurashev is relishing in as well. The two players connected for a goal in last night's 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh. While the outcome of the game wasn't ideal, it was very clear that the team (and particularly that top line) was a more dangerous team with Bedard (with Kurashev and Foligno) in the lineup.

Next season Philip Kurashev will again be on a 2.25m cap hit and entering an RFA year in which he will likely see yet another raise. This time however, it may be more significant of a raise (and deservedly so). Note; Philipp Kurashev is just 24 years old.