The offseason is already here for the Blackhawks, so let’s breakdown some important dates as May begins.
May 1: KHL/European free agency
The first item for the offseason will be KHL/free agency as these contracts expire April 30. Some players may become available and look to come over to North America with hopes to play in the NHL.
Tim Soderlund, who was drafted by the Blackhawks in the fourth round in 2017, is among those players. Chicago general manager Stan Bowman said recently he wants to discuss signing the Swedish winger. Soderlund, whose contract expires with Skelleftea AIK, would play in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs.
Bowman has also said the team intends to sign Dominik Kubalik, who was acquired from Los Angeles in January, led Switzerland’s top league in scoring with 57 points (25 goals, 32 assists) this past season. Kubalik is expected to sign after playing for the Czech Republic men’s national team at the World Championship.
Chicago is among three finalists to sign 24-year-old Russian winger Ilya Mikheyev, who scored 23 goals and 45 points in 62 KHL games in his fifth season with Avangard Omsk. The 6-foot-2, 194-pounder added four goals and 11 points in 13 playoff games as Avangard fell in four games to CSKA Moscow and Blackhawks prospect Max Shalunov in the Gagarin Cup Final.
The Blackhawks have also been linked to Swedish winger Anton Wedin, who had a career-high 14 goals and 27 points in 32 SHL games this past season.
May 10-26: IIHF World Championship (Slovakia)
The Blackhawks will be well represented at the upcoming World Championship with almost 10 confirmed players.
The tournament provides teams an opportunity to scout European players against some NHL stars.
May 27 to June 1: NHL Scouting Combine (Buffalo)
The NHL Scouting Combine offers team’s the chance to interview and evaluate draft-eligible prospects through various performance tests. The Blackhawks hold the No. 3 pick in this year’s draft, so this will be a key week in deciding which player will be their top choice.
June 15: First buyout period begins
First buyout period begins (or 48 hours after the completion of the Stanley Cup Final), also the deadline for first team-elected arbitration.
The NHL normally announces the home openers for the upcoming season the day of the NHL Awards show.
June 19 (7 p.m.): NHL Awards (Las Vegas)
Patrick Kane is the lone Blackhawks player up for a season-ending award as a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award, which is given annually to the league’s most outstanding player as voted on by members of the NHL Players’ Association.
The NHL normally releases the regular-season schedules the day prior to the NHL draft instead of waiting until after the dust settles in free agency.
June 21-22: NHL Draft (Vancouver)
The Blackhawks moved up nine spots in the draft lottery and hold the No. 3 pick for the first time since 2006 when they drafted Jonathan Toews in Vancouver. Chicago holds seven draft picks, including two in the fourth round.
June 23 (11:01 p.m.): Unrestricted free agents may meet with teams
Pending unrestricted free agents may meet with potential new teams, but may not sign until the opening of the signing period (July 1).
Roster: Forwards Marcus Kruger and Chris Kunitz and goalie Cam Ward
Non-roster: Forwards Peter Holland, Jordan Schroeder, Andreas Martinsen and Tyler Sikura and defensemen Andrew Campbell and Brandon Davidson
June 25: RFA qualifying offers due by 4 p.m.
The Blackhawks will have to extend qualifying offers to four NHL roster players and seven non-roster players if they wish to retain their rights.
Roster: Forwards David Kampf and Brendan Perlini and defensemen Gustav Forsling and Slater Koekkoek
Non-roster: Forwards Victor Ejdsell, Anthony Louis, Luke Johnson, Dylan Sikura and Spencer Watson, defenseman Blake Hillman and goaltender Anton Forsberg
June 25: NHL schedule release for 2019-20 season
The Blackhawks will open the season against the Flyers in Prague, Czech Republic.
June 25 or 26: Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2019 announced
The selection committee will announce this year’s class. Will Steve Larmer, Jeremy Roenick or others get the call?
June 30: First buyout window closes (4 p.m.); salary cap set
The first buyout period ends and the deadline for setting the upper and lower limits of the 2019-20 salary cap arrives.
June 30: Final day to exclusive rights to pending unrestricted free agents
The Blackhawks have exclusive negotiating rights with players set to become unrestricted free agents until July 1.
July 1 (11 a.m.): NHL free agency
Bowman didn’t make a big splash in free agency last year like many had hoped as he signed three veteran players. This year, Bowman has even more salary cap space. Will he pull the trigger?
July 5 (4 p.m.): Arbitration deadline
The deadline for restricted free agents who wish to take salary negotiations to arbitration.
July 6: Deadline for team-elected arbitration
The deadline for second club-elected arbitration for qualified, but unsigned restricted free agents.
July 14: Bowman’s 10-year anniversary as GM
Bowman’s tenure as GM hits the 10-year mark.
July 15 (4 p.m.): Qualifying offers expire
Qualifying offers extended to RFAs expire unless the deadline is extended by the team.
July 15-19: Blackhawks development camp (Chicago)
There’s no set date for the team’s annual development camp, but it usually happens during the third week of July.
July 20 to Aug. 4: Arbitration hearings
Teams and restricted free agents go before an arbitrator to have contract ruling issued. Contract may still be rejected or player and team can negotiate a long-term contract prior to the ruling.
July 26-28: Blackhawks Convention (Chicago)
The Blackhawks head to Hilton Chicago for their 12th annual fan convention.
Aug. 6: Arbitration decisions deadline
Arbitrator will announce rulings on final team/player arbitration hearings.
Aug. 15: Deadline to sign NCAA draft picks
The Blackhawks are unlikely to sign forward Beau Starrett, a 2014 third-round pick. The 6-foot-5, 212-pounder scored a career-high eight goals and 15 points during his senior season at Cornell.
Sept. 6-10: NHL Prospect tournament (Traverse City)
The four-day tournament showcases the prospects from eight NHL teams playing for the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup at the newly renovated Centre Ice Arena.