What should the Blackhawks do with Dominik Kubalik?

Dominik Kubalik - Chicago Blackhawks v Ottawa Senators
Dominik Kubalik - Chicago Blackhawks v Ottawa Senators / Richard Whittaker/Freestyle Photo/GettyImages

Dominik Kubalik’s contract runs out at the end of this season. He currently has a $3.7M cap hit, but the Blackhawks do have his RFA rights and there is a slim chance he ends up going anywhere. The 26 year old has 30 points in 73 games this year with a -16 to add to his stat line. He has moved all around the lineup all season and has been a very effective forward. The 6’2 Czechia born native will likely be looking for a small raise but doesn’t have much leverage as far as negotiating his new contract with the team. 

This Season’s Performance

As I’ve already mentioned, Kubalik has put up 30 points in 73 games so far. He has always seemed to be making a difference away from the puck even with the lack of offensive production. With this being said, Kubalik is still referred to as a goal scorer. This season could easily be shoved under the rug as a “down year” and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him come back and put up North of 50 points next season.

As far as the rebuild goes, Kubalik should be a huge part of it. His 200 foot game has improved, he’s a player that’s trusted to move around anywhere in the lineup and play the role he is asked to play on a nightly basis. The chemistry he has with all of his teammates is evident, and he seemingly makes everybody around him a better player. 

Next Contract & Comparison

I’m leaning towards the belief that Kubalik will want to re-sign, but not for longer than a year. I wanna say he’s going to want to prove himself, and take a bridge deal. I can see the two sides agreeing to a deal worth $3.5-4M AAV. 

There are rumours going both ways with him right now, with some sources saying he wants to come back to Chicago and some saying he doesn’t. Either way, it’s hard to believe the Hawks are going to want to just let him walk. 

The closest comparison I can find to Kubalik is Sean Kuraly, who also has 30 points this season and is currently on a four year contract worth $2.5M AAV with the Blue Jackets. Kuraly took a longer deal for less money and that’s what Kubalik’s contract after the 2022-23 season will probably look like. It also will come down to his performance next season, which further proves my belief that Kubalik has a breakout 2022-23 season as he tries to prove himself as a star. 

Final Thoughts

Despite his disappointing season offensively, and his defensive game being a little iffy, Kubalik has built a reputation and the team knows he can score, and be lethal in the O-zone. He proved that when he was averaging over a point per game in the NL with HC Ambrì-Piotta, and showed he could translate his strengths to the NHL when he put up 46 points in 68 games in the 2019-20 season.

With the right linemates, I believe Kubalik will find his touch again. Letting him go would not be beneficial, as any team that picks him up will find him as an incredibly useful goal scorer. Time will tell, but the Blackhawks cannot let Kubalik walk.