The Chicago Blackhawks present does not look so great compared to their future.
The Hawks are currently last in the Central division and tied for dead-last in the NHL with the San Jose Sharks. You can thank injuries to a roster already thin on talent for the team's current place in the standings. Losing a lot of games is also the trademark of a franchise in the beginning stages of an extensive rebuild.
On the other hand, the future looks bright. The Blackhawks have hockey phenom Connor Bedard to build around. They have the second-best prospect pool in the league. The Hawks project to have around $51 million in salary cap space next offseason to go with their abundance of draft picks.
The club does not have a lot of bad long-term contracts on the books beyond Seth Jones' deal. He is the only player signed beyond the 2025-26 season. Although, the Hawks projected salary cap space could go down as they have 10 players set for restricted free agency. Depending on how many of those players get a contract will impact that $51 million somewhat.
There are a few holes in the plan of reaching success. Arvid Soderblom has failed to emerge as the team's No. 1 goalie. The core of the next great Hawks team is either in their first NHL season (Bedard and defensemen Kevin Korchinski and Alex Vlasic), in the AHL, or playing at the junior or college level. That means in the immediate future the Chicago Blackhawks need some veterans to take up ice time. Also, veteran leadership is needed to guide the youngsters along.
That is why the Blackhawks need to keep these three players around beyond this season.