It has seemed for some time now that Dominik Kubalík might be the most likely Blackhawks player to be traded ahead of Monday’s NHL trade deadline, now it seems like he may be the first domino to fall in the Blackhawks deadline deals.
Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting this afternoon that the Blackhawks are making progress on a trade with Anaheim and Edmonton being the frontrunners for the 26-year-old winger’s services.
Hearing the Blackhawks are making progress on a Dominik Kubalik trade, with Anaheim and Edmonton being the frontrunners. https://t.co/tkTA1amBk5
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) March 16, 2022
Kubalík burst onto the scene with the Blackhawks during the 2019-20 season, when he racked up 46 points (30 goals, 16 assists) as a rookie in the COVID-19 shortened season. But now, just two years after the pandemic halted Kubalík’s breakout rookie season, he’s a frequent healthy scratch who is seemingly destined for a new home. Even when he’s in the lineup, ice time has been sparse for the 26-year-old winger who skated just 8:46 in Chicago’s overtime loss to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.
Kubalík isn’t going to be on the top of many teams wish lists at this point as his performance this season has cratered any value he had built in the first two seasons of his career, but there will be a team who believes that for the right price, they could revive his career.
Some have opined that Kubalík might be able to net the Blackhawks a mid-round pick, but Frank Seravalli sees a buyers market developing around the league with returns coming in below original asking prices, meaning that Kubalík might only land the Blackhawks a late-round pick or a player that Anaheim is willing to part with.
Perhaps Kyle Davidson could interest the Ducks in Kubalík with the return that includes an expiring contract like Ricard Rackell. On the other hand, maybe a veteran like Derek Grant, who could help the Blackhawks fill spots on a rebuilding roster for the next couple of years, would work for both sides.
Rackell has 28 points in 51 games, and the 28-year-old winger, like Kubalík, was once a 30-goal scorer a few years ago but has failed to register 20 goals in any of the past four seasons for Anaheim. Rackell is on an expiring deal, so if the Blackhawks don’t like what they see in a late-season audition, he’ll cost them nothing moving forward. Derek Grant is a 31-year-old centerman who could fill one of the bottom two center roles for a couple of seasons while the team rebuilds. Derek King has recently said that rebuilding teams need good vets to eat up ice time and help the kids. Grant could serve in that role at an attractive price point.
Either way, it seems like the Blackhawks chapter in Dominik Kubalík’s career may be coming to a close in the next few days. Hopefully, he’ll get the change of scenery that he needs to get his career back on track.