Projecting the 2022-23 Chicago Blackhawks Lines

Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks / Harry How/GettyImages

With 16 games remaining for the Blackhawks this season, this can be seen as a trial for some players who have contract years. There are 6 RFAs on the main roster (Dominik Kubalik, Dylan Strome, Kirby Dach, Reese Johnson, Philipp Kurashev, and Caleb Jones), and 5 UFAs (Sam Lafferty, Calvin De Haan, Erik Gustafsson, Collin Delia, and Kevin Lankinen). While all of them won't re-sign in Chicago, it'll be interesting to see who stays, and who goes.

Dominik Kubalik is an RFA who has arbitration rights and a qualifying offer of 4 million dollars. Kyle Davidson could let Kubalik walk, or sign his 4 million dollar qualifying offer for one year in hopes of building up his value for the next trade deadline. Dylan Strome is also an RFA with arbitration rights and a qualifying offer of 3.6 million dollars, he needs to be re-signed, no excuses. It's likely Kirby Dach, Philipp Kurashev, Caleb Jones, and Reese Johnson won't command much, the latter two with arbitration rights.

As for the UFAs, I think only Sam Lafferty and Kevin Lankinen will stay in Chicago. Calvin De Haan, Erik Gustafsson, and Collin Delia will likely leave - please do not re-sign Erik Gustafsson.

2022-23 Blackhawks Lines

Forward Line 1: Alex DeBrincat - Dylan Strome - Patrick Kane

Forward Line 2: Taylor Raddysh - Jonathan Toews - Kirby Dach

Forward Line 3: Philipp Kurashev - Lukas Reichel - Tyler Johnson

Forward Line 4: Jujhar Khaira - Sam Lafferty - Mackenzie Entwistle

Extras: Boris Katchouk, Reese Johnson

DeBrincat-Strome-Kane have great chemistry, so why break up a good thing? Raddysh-Toews-Dach is a big line that has the potential to put up solid possession numbers and be responsible defensively. Kurashev-Reichel-Johnson would be the energy line that plays with a lot of pace. Khaira-Lafferty-Entwistle would be your prototypical, physical fourth line.

Ultimately, I don't think Dominik Kubalik re-signs and will get a fresh start somewhere else. Though he has one year left on his contract, I don't see Henrik Borgstrom on this team next season. I considered Mike Hardman being an extra forward, but he still isn't waiver exempt, though he'll likely be called up right away in case of injuries.

Defense Pairing 1: Jake McCabe - Seth Jones

Defense Pairing 2: Riley Stillman - Connor Murphy

Defense Pairing 3: Caleb Jones - Ian Mitchell

Jake McCabe and Seth Jones are signed for the next few+ years, so might as well put the two together and let them develop some chemistry. Riley Stillman and Connor Murphy can be the shutdown pairing. Caleb Jones and Ian Mitchell would be the more sheltered pairing that can move the puck.

Extra: Jakub Galvas

Starting Goalie: Joonas Korpisalo (UFA signing)

Backup Goalie: Kevin Lankinen

The Blackhawks don't have any goalies signed beyond next season, besides Arvid Soderblom and recently signed Jaxson Strauber, who should be playing in Rockford. I think Kevin Lankinen stays in Chicago, and that the Blackhawks could take a chance on Joonas Korpisalo after a tough year in Columbus.

I don't expect Kyle Davidson to make any crazy moves in free agency, nor should he. This team is rebuilding and they shouldn't be strapping themselves with long term contracts. The priority should be giving younger players chances. It does look underwhelming, but it might be all worth it to get a prospect like Connor Bedard.