Blackhawks Should Target Nick Ritchie In Free Agency

On Monday, teams across the NHL needed to submit qualifying offers to restricted free agents. A few intriguing names were not qualified, including Pius Suter of the Blackhawks.

One name is specifically for the Blackhawks: Nick Ritchie.

Boston did not qualify Ritchie, who is coming off a 15-goal season in which he had a $894,167 cap hit. He was credited with 102 hits in 56 games while averaging 15:22 of ice time per night.

Ritchie is a big, physical, bruising left wing who would be an ideal compliment to the Blackhawks’ current group of forwards. For the sake of comparison, Ryan Carpenter led Blackhawks forwards with 78 hits in 40 games in a fourth line role. Alex DeBrincat ranked second among Hawks forwards in hits last season.

To be clear: hits are not a reason to sign players. But the Blackhawks need to be harder to play against, and Ritchie would bring more physicality to the lineup than Chicago currently has on its roster.

Ritchie was also a big part of Boston’s powerplay last year, averaging 2:45 per night with the advantage.

His 15 goals last season were a career-high. And his 26 points in 56 games were five points short of his career best of 31, which he established in 2018-19 with Anaheim.

Blackhawks fans may not have a positive memory of Ritchie; he infamously knocked-out Michael Rozsival with one punch four years ago. But he’s the type of physical presence the Blackhawks simply don’t have on the roster.

With Suter leaving Chicago via free agency, Ritchie could be a solid replacement in the lineup in the Hawks’ middle-six forward group while also bringing more toughness to the ice. And, considering his previous contract, the cost could be in line with how the Blackhawks are looking to spend in the short-term future.

The 25-year-old winger was originally the tenth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft by Anaheim. In his career, Ritchie has scored 59 goals with 78 assists in 350 regular season games.

13 thoughts on “Blackhawks Should Target Nick Ritchie In Free Agency

  • July 27, 2021 at 9:34 am

    Ritchie is a totally useless.
    Playing on Boston’s power play will inflate anyone’s stats. To say Richie was a big part of Boston’s power play is laughable.

  • July 27, 2021 at 9:41 am

    Wouldn’t be a rfa again next year, ufa eligible so any length of deal could be signed. Certainly add an element missing from last few seasons rosters, net front presence, dirty area guy, sign him up.

  • July 27, 2021 at 9:48 am

    One other thing on not qualifying Suter and other arbitration eligible players, award has to be over 4.5m from arbitrator to walk away from it if player requests arbitration, Zadorov likely only one maybe be that high.

  • July 27, 2021 at 9:57 am

    I wouldn’t look at Ritchie as a long term solution for the bottom six of the Hawks..he’s taken 70 percent of his faceoffs in the offensive zone over the past two seasons..That’s pretty severe for a 3rd line player (as Stape correctly indicated, a byproduct of getting a lot of pp time on one of the best pp lines in hockey). I think he’s due for a scoring regression, which is where most of his worth would come from..however, $2 mil on a one year deal, flip him to a playoff contender at the deadline..that I would be interested in. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be too concerned with signing him. If there is one thing the Hawks have plenty of this year, it’s bottom six options.

  • July 27, 2021 at 10:08 am

    Slayer – agree Ritchie on a 1 year deal and flip him at TDL like Janmark last year works for me

    Give young players who might take that role eventually (Hardman Entwistle Slavin) another year to develop

  • July 27, 2021 at 10:16 am

    Ok, before everyone “jumps my kitchen”, can we dream on Danault or is he too expensive.

  • July 27, 2021 at 10:36 am

    This is a type of a player that we need but I doubt it would happen here. @Wrap: Ritchie is 25 years old. He’s what you need to build a winner, if you keep getting players just to flip them later on it means your team isn’t doing diddly squat. Again. And what if your players don’t really develop as you anticipated they would??

  • July 27, 2021 at 11:28 am

    The sucker punch that pretty much ended Rozsival’s career would be hard to overlook.

  • July 27, 2021 at 11:32 am

    Word is Hawks traded for Marc Andre Fleury, problem is and it doesn’t make sense, Chicago was NOT on his list of teams within his Modified NMC….how can Vegas do this ? My guess is Fleury will retire rather than play in this horrible team. Anyone with more knowledge on this can help explain what might have just happen.

  • July 27, 2021 at 1:41 pm

    Would be an excellent addition ..Totally frustrated watching the Hawks get out hit and pushed around the last few years …Let’s see if management agrees …

  • July 27, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    These are the kind we need to add if and only if he can skate fast and good skater.

    Now think of lines with Ritchie Barratt Hagel.

  • July 27, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    Tyler Johnson and a 2nd rnder for Seabrook

  • July 27, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    Craig, yea your right even though Hartman was the kind of player we need when he reverse elbowed Krugs in tghe head he became a flatlander for doing that and should be banned and punished from being a Blackhawk for career.

    You donot do that never never.

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