Blackhawks Futures: Next Year’s Needs And Obligations

Earlier today, we provided statistical updates on the Blackhawks’ impressive group of prospects.

As the conversation continues to look ahead to the expansion draft and summer free agency, the Blackhawks have plenty of decisions to make. With that in mind, it’s worth taking a moment to look at their contract obligations beyond the 2016-17 season.

The following prospects* (players not currently in Chicago) are signed through at least the 2017-18 season:

Tyler Motte – AHL
Vinnie Hinostroza – AHL
Kyle Baun – AHL
Luke Johnson – AHL
Alex DeBrincat – Jr
Matthew Highmore – Jr
Graham Knott – Jr
Alexandre Fortin – Jr

Gustav Forsling – AHL
Carl Dahlstrom – AHL
Viktor Svedberg – AHL
Robin Norell – AHL

Jeff Glass – AHL

The following players are restricted free agents in the Blackhawks’ system:

NHL Roster
Richard Panik
Tanner Kero
Tomas Jurco
Dennis Rasmussen
Michal Kempny

Ville Pokka
Erik Gustafsson
Michael Latta
Dillon Fournier
Kenton Helgesen

The Blackhawks still own the rights to Maxim Shalunov, who has become the unicorn of Chicago prospect discussions. It has been six years since the Hawks drafted Shalunov, but he has matured into an intriguing prospect – who might want to play for the Blackhawks at some point. When his KHL season ends he’ll be a name to watch.

From the 2016 NHL Draft, the Hawks have already signed a deal with Graham Knott. Dennis Gilbert and Ryan Shea are in college, so their rights are under control until they decide to leave school. But Radovan Bondra, Roy Radke, Joni Tuulola and John Dahlstrom will all be in the mix for a contract this summer as they are two years removed from being selected.

It’s worth considering that the Hawks may offer a contract to Nathan Noel, a fourth round pick in 2016, this summer as well. He is currently playing with newly-signed Highmore with Saint John.

Among the Blackhawks’ college prospects, John Hayden, Anthony Louis and Chris Calnan are seniors. Chicago will need to make a decision on the three of them this year. We would expect Hayden to be in Rockford quickly after Yale’s season ends.

Other possible players to leave the college ranks this year include Dylan Sikura, Matt Iacopelli and Luc Snuggerud. Gilbert is having a strong stretch of play lately for Notre Dame, but may return to South Bend for another year.

Unrestricted free agents not on the current NHL roster: Mac Carruth, Martin Lundberg, Brandon Mashinter, Lars Johansson and Pierre-Cedric Labrie.

5 thoughts on “Blackhawks Futures: Next Year’s Needs And Obligations

  • March 3, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    I forgot that Panik was a RFA. Realistically, what are the chances of the Hawks re-signing him? If he gets 20 goals, which seems likely, some team will offer a player like Panik approaching his prime something in the neighborhood of $3-4 M a year. If he gets 25 goals it would certainly go higher, don’t you think? How could the Hawks afford him?

  • March 3, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Listing the NHL RFA’s in order of importance to re-sign (IMO): Kempny, Panik, Kero, Jurco, Rasmussen. Panik, with the season he’s having, may have earned more than the Hawks can afford. Hopefully Kempny doesn’t have $$ in his eyes. Kero, Jurco and Ras should all be reasonable re-signs.

    The AHL RFA’s – don’t really care if any of them are re-signed.

  • March 3, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Might be important to note which RFA’s are arbitration eligible, otherwise the leverage is with the Hawks regardless of what they think they are worth or what other teams would offer on the open market.

    Offer sheets are quite rare and wouldn’t expect a team to drop one on any of those guys for higher than market dollars, knowing picks have to go the other way.

  • March 3, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Hopefully Panik and Kempny will sign cheaper “prove it” bridge deals.

  • March 3, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Kempny has been better but I cant see him asking for too much more than hes currently making.

    Shalunov’s season is over but is an RFA in the KHL. His team still holds his rights through April and it’s ultimately up to them if he’s able to sign here this year. He may be using the Hawks as leverage to be traded to a better KHL team.

    Hayden and Snuggerud will sign. I can see a scenario where Snuggerud may eclipse Forsling on the depth chart.

    Kero, Jurco, Rasmussen are all easily signable.

    Gilbert may sign, Sikura may as well…But he needs to put some LBs on his frame. I’d be interested to see who’s able to sign Aston-Reese, Sikura’s teammate and a senior. Hawks are at 44 SPC’s. Room to sign a few of these guys.

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