Blackhawks Mailbag: Targeting Forward Prospects in Trade and Free Agency, Fleury Helping Out? Next Captain? More

If you can take a break from all of the exciting NFL happenings and MLB not happenings, I’ve got a foursome of questions in my Blackhawks mailbag from this past weekend that I want to get to this afternoon before we turn our attention to the Blackhawks-Ducks game.

Gary Winters: To legitimately start this rebuild, what kind of prospect are you potentially looking at?  Is there a position in dire need? I really like what I’ve seen in Arvid Söderblom down in Rockford.  I think he would be best served staying in Rockford through next season, but do you think he’s got the potential to become that next franchise goalie?

The Blackhawks are pretty thin at forward when it comes to prospects, with Lukas Reichel (who will be in the NHL full-time next season) being the last of the notable prospects at that position, so when acquiring prospects, I would start there.

They have some guys to check out in the net. You mentioned Söderblom as a potential No. 1 in the future (and I agree with you that Rockford is where he should be for the foreseeable future), and I think that the Blackhawks probably want to see more of Kevin Lankinen in an everyday role next season. Don’t forget about Drew Commesso, who the Blackhawks took in the second round of the 2020 draft. They also have a handful of defensemen in Rockford to get a real feel for next season.

Honestly, their pipeline is in such bad shape; they could take the best available anywhere on the ice and do well by it.

As far as Söderblom is concerned, I’m not sold on him as the future between the pipes, but that doesn’t mean he can’t develop into that role if given the opportunity. Next season will be a big year for his development.

***

Lou Barsevick: Marc-André Fleury has been described as a great guy and teammate. Why would the Marc-Andre Fleury I’ve just described NOT willingly help this team, his team, by simply agreeing to a trade?

While I totally get where you’re coming from, Lou, that’s tough. It’s tough for me to be mad at Fleury either way. If he OK’s a deal, I’d be appreciative of his time here and his willingness to work with Davidson to do what’s best for everyone involved. If he doesn’t, I’ll understand why he doesn’t want to move his little girls around again, especially during the school year.

Sure, he could leave them here in Chicago and go ride out the next couple of months on his own wherever he’s traded, but that’s an ask I’m not comfortable with as a husband and father myself.

***

Red Reedy: If Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews both end up moving on, who is the future captain of the Blackhawks. My guess would be DeBrincat.

While I believe that Patrick Kane isn’t going anywhere, my guess would be the same, Red. If Toews and Kane both moved on, DeBrincat would be the cornerstone of the franchise and the easy choice to be the next to wear the C.

***

George Slater: While Kyle Davidson acknowledged a rebuild, should the Blackhawks pursue a top-6 forward in free agency? Preferably Hertl.

I think the Blackhawks will be bringing in outside help to replace players that they trade, but I don’t see a player like Tomas Hertl fitting into their plans right now. Hertl will be commanding a deal with an AAV in the ballpark of $8 million, which is a number I don’t see Davidson dolling out to a free agent anytime soon.

I know that this isn’t the sexy answer, but I’d expect the see guys of Sam Lafferty and Ryan Carpenter’s role/caliber shuffling in and out in the immediate future. It will be a tough couple of years at 1901 W. Madison St., and I don’t see many big-name free agents making Chicago their new home during the infancy of this rebuild.

***

written by

Patrick grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods before moving to the Western Suburbs of Chicago before eventually relocating to the Las Vegas area with his family in 2023. He started with Bleacher Nation in 2021 and has spent time as a Staff Writer and on the Chicago Blackhawks beat. He is currently a writer and editor at Bleacher Nation covering the Chicago Bears and the NFL at large and the author of the Bleacher Nation Newsletter. Patrick is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

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