Who The Hawks Should Look at Signing

The Chicago Blackhawks are in dead last in the NHL standings. With a record of 16-24-9, it’s no surprise but it is heartbreaking when you look at where the Hawks were not too long ago. Rather than dwelling on where the Hawks are now (because it sucks), today, let’s focus on who the Blackhawks can acquire coming up.

Here’s a look at where the Hawks are on terms of cap space.

Screenshot 2019-01-19 at 1.42.10 PM.png
Stats via CapFriendly

Artemi Panarin

Let’s admit it, we all miss Breadman. The chemistry between Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane was unmatched anywhere on the team, even with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad reunited. Both Panarin and Kane said they were saddened by this trade but if Stan Bowman plays his cards right (and he better) Artemi can make his return to Chicago. An inside source told John Dietz of the Daily Herald that Chicago plans to go “All-in” in order to get Panarin back. On top of the Panarin has said that he’s looking to go somewhere else upon becoming a UFA and was willing to listen to Chicago’s offers.

The left winger is 27 years old and in his 4th season in the NHL.

Following Panarin’s trade to the Columbus Blue Jackets, he went on to have a fantastic season, scoring 27 goals and racking in 55 assists with a rating of +23. This season, Panarin has 18 goals and 45 assists in just 45 games. Panarin is averaging 20:08 every game  Panarin’s current cap hit is $6,000,000. 

Matt Duchene

After spending 9 years with the Colorado Avalanche, Matt Duncene got sent over to the Ottawa Senators, mid game, back in 2017. Duchene tapped into a high level of hockey for himself and has played unbelievable for a team that has hit turmoil.

Duchene is a 28-year-old (drafted 2009, 3rd overall) and plays the center.

Last season, Duchene played in 68 games, scoring 23 goals and 26 assists. His rating was not the best at -23. This season Duchene has played in 39 of 48 games, with 20 goals and 26 assists. His current cap hit is $6,000,000.

Duchene is a fast skater not to mention he has amazing, raw talent and is a play maker. He’s got heart in his game that the Blackhawks should be looking for. His biggest downfall is that he’s injured pretty often which could cause consistency issues. 

Jake Gardiner

It’s no surprise to say that the Blackhawks defense has been struggling and it has for years. Jake Gardiner would be a fantastic player to put in the Hawks defense. Gardiner is currently playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs and he’s played amazing for him, the problem being that the Leafs are more focused on resigning Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner (good idea, Leafs). Marner is having a fantastic season playing with John Tavares and like hell Toronto is going to give up their Golden Boy. With both Matthews and Marner being as great as they are, Toronto is going to pay big, leaving very little for other players who are going to become free agents (i.e. Jake Gardiner). Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has pushed signing Marner and Matthews before Gardiner, telling the press:

“We would like [Gardiner] to be here, but it’s not as simple as it sounds, you only have a certain amount you can divvy up, and it’s trying to make that all work and keep our team on the right path moving forward.”

Jake Gardiner is also 28 years old and a defenseman.

Gardiner has been playing with Toronto since 2011. Last season, he played in all 82 games (as he did the season prior) while scoring 5 goals and racking in 47 assists with a rating of +9. In total Gardiner blocked 103 shots at even strength just last season, a career high. This season, he has 2 goals and 22 assists in 47 games with a +17 rating. Gardiner’s cap hit this season is $4,050,000.

A great thing about Gardiner is he is an offensive defenseman. He’s got the smarts to do it but he can make mistakes offensively that he has to clean up defensively. On the ice he does more good than bad and he’s a player that almost never gets injured. Gardiner would boost the Hawks defense where it needs to be seeing as some of the current defensemen don’t have the speed that game has developed.

Overall

There are a lot of other big names that will be going for free agency if they do not resign with their teams (Segei Bobrovsky and Erik Karlsson for example).

3 Hawks will become UFA if they do not resign:

With even more becoming RFAs:

For this team to move forward and become a team people fear playing once more, there’s going to have to be big changes whether it’s on the ice or in the front office (maybe both).


Featured Image: NBCS, Hockey News, TSN
Stats From:Cap Friendly, Hockey Reference

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