Fresh off his breakout performance at the World Championship for the Czech Republic national team, the Blackhawks signed Dominik Kubalik to a one-year contract worth $925,000 on Wednesday. The 23-year-old finished eighth in scoring at the tournament with 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 10 games.
That leaves the question of where the 6-foot-2, 190-pound winger will fit in the Blackhawks’ lineup. The former Swiss National League player proven to be good enough to earn an extended look, much like Dominik Kahun last season, who came over from the German league and proved to be an NHL player.
That may actually be the best spot for Kubalik, by the way. Playing with Kahun — a former junior teammate with the Ontario Hockey League’s Sudbury Wolves — on what should be the Blackhawks’ third line.
Part of that is the first two lines may have already been set. With Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on the first line and Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat on the second, the Blackhawks have two dynamic scoring duos. Wingers Drake Caggiula, Brendan Perlini and Brandon Saad should be able to fill the holes next to those duos.
Perlini is a restricted free agent, however, but so is the person who may be Kubalik’s center next season, David Kampf.
While Kubalik may have impressed at both the Worlds and in Switzerland last season, scoring a NLA-high 57 points (25 goals, 35 assists) in 50 games, the Blackhawks don’t know what he can do in the NHL yet. Putting him, at least initially, on a line with a two-way center in Kampf and a proven depth scorer in Kahun should help Kubalik get adjusted to the North American game.
Together last season, Kahun and Kampf had just a 47.42 percent Corsi-For and 44.77 percent shot share, but a 50.36 percent expected goal share and 77.78 percent goal share. Their possession stats may have been worse than they were, judging by their expected goal share, but adding someone like Kubalik who could be a great scorer and has the capabilities to drive play to the line could give the Blackhawks three scoring units.
Plus, it will give the Blackhawks a line with each player having the initials D.K. and you know what that means:
Donkey Kong Line.