With free agency arriving later this week, the Chicago Blackhawks announced that two players will remain under team control while a handful of players appear slated for the open market — including two players who’ve been debated at length.
First, the retained players: the Blackhawks announced that they’ve extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents Philipp Kurashev and Caleb Jones.
Both Jones and Kurashev now have the option to accept that qualifying offer or negotiate a new contract with the team. For Kurashev, who just completed the third and final season of his entry-level contract, the qualifying offer would be for $840,000, per CapFriendly. For Jones, who just finished the second year of the 2-year, $1.7 million contract he signed with the Edmonton Oilers in January 2020 before he was traded to Chicago, the offer would be for $945,000 — again, per CapFriendly.
Perhaps the more interesting part of Monday’s news is the longer list of players who did NOT receive qualifying offers, which means they will become unrestricted free agents on Wednesday. That list consists of:
- Forwards Dylan Strome, Dominik Kubalik, Cameron Morrison and Andrei Altybarmakyan
- Defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk
- Goaltender Cale Morris
Strome and Kubalik are the obvious standouts here, considering Strome’s obvious on-ice chemistry with Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat and Kubalik’s career highlights including a 30-goal season in 68 games played. After DeBrincat was traded, though, it appeared that the Blackhawks front office determined that Strome’s value was negligible and Kubalik’s overall contributions were about the same.
While this corner of the internet has advocated a plan of keeping those two around for next season in hopes that improved play could result in trades at next year’s deadline that would result in picks and/or prospects being acquired in return, it also must be conceded that Strome and Kubalik have reportedly been on the trade block for several months now and much of the NHL has responded by hanging the “not interested” sign.
Earlier on Monday, reports surfaced that two more Blackhawks from last season won’t be around for the 2022-23 season:
Brett Connolly (CHI) and Henrik Borgstrom (CHI) are on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a buyout.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 11, 2022
Deeper into the teardown portion of this process, we go.