I feel like I’ve been beating a dead horse by saying this over and over again, but there’s not a lot to look forward to as a Blackhawks fan. No high end prospects on the way - except for Lukas Reichel - and no first round pick - unless they win the lottery. Though this upcoming free agency class could be a way to bring some excitement to this fan base.
While free agency isn’t the way to solve problems for your NHL team because of the money and term you'll have to give out, the Blackhawks will have about 22 million dollars this offseason to work with. Even with the Seth Jones extension kicking in, there’s not really a contract Kyle Davidson has to worry about. Kirby Dach and Philipp Kurashev are RFAs without arbitration rights. While Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome are RFAs with arbitration rights, I think chances are pretty slim they’re both on the team next season. And obviously they'll need a goalie, Fleury could stay in Chicago for relatively cheap.
Anyways, enough about the money aspect, what players could be on the market this free agency?
*Note* I could look like a complete idiot when one of these players sign an extension by the end of the day.
While he’ll be 38 this summer, Joe Pavelski is playing arguably the best hockey of his career. The Plover, Wisconsin native has an elite two-way game, something the Blackhawks desperately need. He has 56 points in 53 games, a 54.2 face-off percentage, and was in the 99th percentile for defensive play last season. With Pavelski being older, it’s likely you’d be only giving him a 1 or 2 year contract, and really, Kyle Davidson can give him how ever much money he wants to.
A full 10 years younger than Joe Pavelski, Filip Forsberg is also playing the best hockey of his career. Despite missing some time due to injury, he’d be on pace for 54 goals in a full 82 game season, and 90 points. Forsberg would give the Blackhawks the elite, gamebreaking talent they desperately need. The Swede will want the full 7 years and at least 8 million dollars if he hits the open market, but if there’s a player you’re going to fish that money out to, let it be Filip Forsberg. Also, he has a killer moustache.
Since going to Colorado, Andre Burakovsky has really unlocked his offensive potential with 131 points in 163 games, including 42 points in 52 games this season, which is on pace for a career high. He’s a very opportunistic goal scorer, as his career shooting percentage is 15%. The 27 year old likely won’t get the same contract as Filip Forsberg, though something like a 6x6 contract isn’t out of the question for him.
29 year old Vincent Trocheck has been a consistent playmaking center over the course of his career, including a face-off percentage of 51.9%.