Teams Walking Away From RFAs? Preparing for the Draft, Sutter Honored, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Teams Walking Away From RFAs? Preparing for the Draft, Sutter Honored, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Last night the Oilers hung around with the Avs for… 23 minutes. After the two teams put 14 combined goals on the board in Game 1, the first period ended without a score in Game 2 and something felt awkward in the world. Colorado put that to bed quickly and emphatically early in the second, scoring three times in 124 seconds to blow the game open. They added a fourth goal in the third period and Pavel Francouz pitched the shutout in net.

Tonight the Lightning will look to rebound from a Game 1 debacle against the Rangers. The puck drops at 7 PM CT on ESPN.

•   In his “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman had a couple Blackhawks-related pieces of news. The more interesting was the departure of CapFriendly co-founder Dominik Zrim from the Blackhawks’ front office in the wake of the town hall back in February.

•   The other item of note for Blackhawks fans from the Friedman column was regarding the belief around the NHL that there will eventually be a higher number of unrestricted free agents this summer than there are at this time because teams may be willing to not make a qualifying offer. Here’s what Friedman had to say:

“There are a lot of eyes on qualifying offers. Cap space is tight, and the arbitration walk-away number this summer is $4,538,958. (Teams can’t “walk-away” from any award below that number.) If they’re not convinced a player’s production matches, teams may choose to let them go free in July rather than risk an arbitration award they can’t escape. Toronto followers were confused by an Ondrej Kase Instagram post where he thanked Maple Leafs fans, taking it as an indication that he might be leaving. That’s premature, I think there are talks underway, but it’s not wrong to think the team would be spooked by an arbitration award in a tight cap situation.

Others to watch include: Ethan Bear (Carolina), Denis Gurianov (Dallas), Kasperi Kapanen (Pittsburgh), Dylan Strome (Chicago), Miles Wood and Pavel Zacha (New Jersey). It’s not to say all of these players are guaranteed to hit the market. It’s more like, teams are watching to see what decisions are made.”

•   This update from Friedman is in line with recent reporting that Strome won’t receive a qualifying offer from the Blackhawks and likely won’t be back in Chicago. We discussed how that would complicate an already stressful depth chart at center for the Blackhawks yesterday.

•   Mike Doneghey was drafted by the Blackhawks in 1989. Now, he’s now running the organization’s prep as the Director of Amateur Scouting. The team shared a great look inside his leadership as the team gets ready for the first selections with Kyle Davidson as general manager.

•   So how are the NHL’s new television deals working out with Turner (TNT) and Disney (ESPN/ABC)? I’d say all parties are pretty happy with how these playoffs have progressed. You’ve got young stars in the west and the two-time defending champs playing at Madison Square Garden in the east. And people are watching all over the country.

•   Duncan Keith asked the Blackhawks to trade him so he could be closer to his son. Before Thursday night’s game he reminded us of the reason he’s in Edmonton. Unfortunately, his son is too young to remember the Blackhawks’ dynasty teams so it’s nice that he’ll have a chance to see Dunc try to make a fourth Stanley Cup Final.

•   Congratulations to former Blackhawks player and coach Darryl Sutter for being named the Jack Adams Award winner as the league’s coach of the year. Sutter was drafted by the Blackhawks in the 11th round back in 1978 and appeared in 406 regular-season games for Chicago as a player. He was the Hawks’ associate coach from 1990-91 to 1991-92 and then served as Chicago’s head coach from 1992-95.

•   Nobody told Cale Makar that he wasn’t allowed to defend Connor McDavid. This was a great play early in Thursday night’s game with two of the best players in the sport going one-on-one at full speed.

•   Vote in our Western Conference Twitter poll!

•   Since we’re thinking and talking about trade rumors with the Blackhawks, let’s do it for the Cubs, too!

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab