Happy Friday, kids! As we all find our inner Loverboy, let’s jump into a little puck talk. The buzz on Thursday night was the Calgary Flames signing Jonathan Huberdeau to an eight-year, $84 million contract extension. He’s 29, so we wish them good luck with the final few years of that deal. There’s a good article about big money contracts that we’ll discuss later in today’s bullets.
- Thursday saw a fun tweet hit the interwebs including a short video involving Chris Chelios and Denis Savard and… beer. Goose Island and the Blackhawks are collaborating on a pale ale that will hit shelves just in time for the regular season.
- Blackhawks prospect Landon Slaggert was named an alternate captain for the United States’ team at the upcoming World Junior Championship.
- Zoomph, a company that measures digital audience, ranked the top 100 most followed sports franchises in sports on Twitter on Wednesday. The Blackhawks made the list at No. 47 overall with just under 2.5 million followers. That ranking made them the top NHL franchise to make the list, one of only seven in the league to crack their top 100 overall.
- Sean McIndoe wrote a terrific piece at The Athletic on Thursday discussing something we’re painfully aware of in Chicago. But it isn’t a Blackhawks problem. As McIndoe outlines, there’s a struggle that’s pervasive around the NHL for front offices to make a splash and grab headlines.
- Here’s what he had to say about Stan Bowman’s parting gift to the franchise, last summer’s Seth Jones deal.
Last summer, the Blackhawks traded for Seth Jones on July 23, giving up a package of high picks and Adam Boqvist. Jones was heading into the last year of his deal, with UFA status looming, so the Hawks immediately signed him to an eight-year, $76 million extension. That contract raised eyebrows at the time, and a year later it looks like one of the league’s worst, with Dom ranking it number two on his list of bad deals.
- TSN’s Travis Yost ranked the left wing depth in the league earlier this week. He created five tiers for team depth, and (not surprisingly) the Blackhawks ranked in the bottom “In Trouble” tier. He had good things to say about newly acquired Andreas Athanasiou, and had the Blackhawks’ top forward prospect — Lukas Reichel — on the depth chart as the third-line left wing.
- Here’s what he had to say about the bottom tier, including Chicago:
You could call this tier the ‘we were dominant franchises a decade ago and are now in the throes of a multi-year rebuild’ (San Jose and Chicago), ‘pretending we aren’t but are’ (Philadelphia), and ‘emerging’ (Los Angeles). Across the sixteen expected regular left-wingers within these four teams, we have reasonably high expectations for two of them: Chicago’s Andreas Athanasiou, and San Jose’s Timo Meier.
- Finally, there’s been some buzz in the last couple days about a Cubs prospects who’s been MIA all season. Our guys have you covered on the why regarding Alexander Vizcaino’s absence.