Wild West: Chicago Blackhawks – Organization Review – DobberHockey

Off the ice, this team has done far more harm than good over the past 15 years, which has been exacerbated over the past year by management and owners’ general disregard for addressing issues.

On the ice, the team went out and paid a fortune for Seth Jones at a confusing time last offseason, as this team was not in a playoff window and Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews enter the final year under contract in 2022-23.

GM and COACh

Kyle Davidson succeeded Stan Bowman in October 2021 as interim chief executive and was subsequently named chief executive on March 1, 2022. Seth Jones the trade was not his and I thought he did some shrewd business trading Marc-Andre Fleury for a 2022 2nd round pick and Brandon Hagel for Taylor RaddychBoris Katchouk and first-round picks from Tampa Bay in 2023 and 2024.

Derek King took over as interim head coach on November 6, 2021 and the team was 27-33-10 in 70 games. King is still listed as an interim, so maybe Chicago is going after one of the many experienced names.

Salary cap

Next season, the team has just over $21 million available as a cap to replace or re-sign five unrestricted free agents and five restricted free agents.

Draft Picks

After the acquisition of Stan Bowman Seth Jones and the No. 32 pick in 2021 (Nolan Allen) for Adam Boqvistthe #12 choice in 2021 (cole sillinger), the 44th pick in 2021 (Aleksi Heimosalmi) and what is now the 6th overall pick in 2022, it ended up costing the club two pretty high picks in Sillinger and this year’s pick.

Davidson did well to pick up a few draft picks, as the team has two second-round picks and three third-round picks in 2022, but not a first-round pick.

In 2023, Chicago has its first-round pick as well as the option to use Tampa Bay’s first-round pick in 2023 or 2024 (top ten protected). They also have Tampa Bay’s second-round pick as well as their own picks from rounds three through seven.

Free Agents

Unrestricted free agents are Calvin DeHaan, Erik Gustafsson, Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen. Andrew Shaw is a UFA but injured and should retire.

The team could bring De Haan back but for far less than his $4.55m AAV which expired and Gustafsson on a similar salary to this year. In goal, they could bring back Delia and Lankinen, but one or both will more than likely test free agency, which means the Blackhawks will have to re-sign one of them sooner rather than later. they want them to come back.

Restricted free agents are Dominik Kubalik, Dylan Strom, Kirby Dash, Philip Kurachev, Caleb Jones and Wyatt Kalynuk.

Strome, Dach, Kurashev, Jones and Kalynuk should be re-signed, but I don’t think the team qualifies Kubalik at $4 million for one year.


For the past two years, I’ve given players ratings based on their results for a game or a season. It takes metrics, like scoring, shooting, hits, blocks, face-offs, etc., and spits out an easy-to-digest number under 10. Elite skaters are around 6.7 and up , while the average skater sits at around 6.41. I have determined that a player around 6.25 or lower is just at replacement level.

Goalkeepers average a bit better at around 6.5, but game-to-game performance is like a yo-yo, so averages can fluctuate.

Here’s Chicago’s projected roster as it stands with a 6.37 average. Since I start with non-playoff teams, their average is unsurprisingly lower than the league average.

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were together on the Blackhawks for 15 seasons and won three Stanley Cups. They are both entering the final year of their contracts and both will be 34 by Christmas 2022. Toews missed all of 2020-21 and played 71 games this season, but was not the player he was before and may never be. Kane is still producing (91 points in 78 games), and could still have two or three more seasons at this rate. No matter what the team does going forward, the club must build beyond those two from now on.

On the forward side, the Blackhawks have two players in Kane and Alex De Brincat who are part of the elite of the NHL. After that, there is a bit of a step back for Dylan StromToews and maybe Kirby Dash in a year or two.

The left side has DeBrincat who has scored 41 goals this season, but he becomes West Germany at the end of 2022-23 and will have to qualify for $9 million for at least a season if he and Chicago don’t agree on a deal. before next year. Next up is Kubalik who has had a very disappointing season with 15 goals and 17 assists in 78 games but he is also set to become an RFA who is set to qualify at $4m next year. After that, Philip Kurachev, Jujhar Khairaand Boris Katchouk will have to compete with Mike Hardman, Brett Connolly and Lukas Reichel for the last two places.

At least for next season, center ice has the most potential for Chicago as Strome, Toews and Kirby Dash should be the first three in front of either Sam Lafferty, Henrik Borgstrom, Reese Johnson, Mike Entwistle, Josiah Slavin or Lukas Reichel. Strome has enjoyed a resurgent year in 2021-22 with 22 goals and 26 assists in 69 games, while Toews will look to step back and Kirby Dash hopes to improve on his nine goals and 17 assists in 70 games. None of this is taken for granted.

On the right side, Patrick Kane it is a model of constancy, but after him it is quite fine between Tyler Johnson who only managed 26 games last season and Taylor Raddych which was good after being brought over from Tampa Bay. It thins out further for fourth place with Henrik BorgstromReese Johnson, Mackenzie Entwistle, Brett Connolly or Mike Hardman looking for this place.

In defense, Seth Jones is arguably their best defenseman, but he signed for eight more years at $9.5 million AAV. He’s 27 and will be 35 when the deal is done, which doesn’t bode well for the club.

Connor Murphy and Jake McCabe are the next tier of defensemen in Chicago with McCabe signed at $4 million AAV for the next three seasons and Murphy signed at $4.4 million AAV for the next four. Both are average defensemen at best who provide hits and blocked shots and solid defense, but are by no means transition machines. Filling the fourth to seven places should be Riley Stillman, Caleb JonesAlex Vlasic, Alec Regula, Wyatt Kalynuk, Ian Mitchell or Nicolas Beaudin. I think Stillman and Jones are locked in, but the others are unproven. Chicago needs a better version of Erik Gustafsson and it may take finding them in free agency or being patient with Mitchell or Regula and hoping they become 35- to 45-point defenders in two to three years.

Chicago did well to convince Marc-Andre Fleury accept an exchange this year, but with Kevin Lankinen and Collin Delia ready for unrestricted free agency, the Blackhawk’s crease is void of a true NHL goaltender right now. Maybe Arvid Soderblom is ready for a shot next season after his great year in the AHL where he played 38 games and had a 91.9 save percentage in the regular season, but I think they bring back one from Lankinen or Delia or sign an established goaltender with a few years of NHL experience.

Chicago will go two ways next season. They will either look to convince Toews and/or Kane to be traded before the deadline, or they will re-sign one or both to three or four year contracts and look to compete during that window. History should tell the property and Davidson that sentimental moves rarely work on the ice.

A full rebuild is rarely popular in the big markets, so look for the sentimental approach. If the team is built around Kane, DeBrincat, Seth Jones and Dach, it’s not a talented enough core to be a playoff contender for the next two or three years.

Thanks for reading, and let me know if you want me to focus on any players or topics by messaging me below or following me on Twitter @gampbler15.

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