Dirty Draisaitl, Demidov Concerns, RFA Talk (Offer Sheet?), Barkley’s a Fan, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

We now have two Stanley Cup Final games in the books and, hoo boy did the Oilers even embarrass themselves last night. Edmonton got out-skated early and Warren Foegele took the first dirty penalty of the night for Edmonton. He collided with Eetu Luostarinen with little/no effort made to play the puck; it was knee-to-knee, dangerous and dirty. After a review, Foegele’s penalty remained a five-minute major, which meant he received an automatic game misconduct as well. Thankfully Luostarinen was able to return.

In the middle of the third period, with the Oilers now trailing 2-1 thanks to Evan Rodrigues, Leon Draisaitl decided it was time to try to knock Sasha Barkov out of the series. If you can’t beat him, injure him. He launched into Barkov’s head and sent him to the room. Somehow, even after a review, this only received a minor penalty. It should get Draisaitl suspended, too. But we all know the league isn’t going to suspend one of the biggest names in the sport, even if this is a dangerous, dirty attempt to injure (Barkov did not return).

Puck don’t lie and the Oilers not only showed their a$$ but also lost 4-1. But Barkov’s status moving forward is significant because he’s been fantastic. The reality here is simple with the Oilers. When the going gets tough, teams respond in one of three ways: Work harder, give up or take cheap shots. We saw the true character of a poverty franchise last night.

  • You know who else doesn’t lie? Charles Barkley. His gig at Turner is over for now as it appears the NBA’s next television rights deal won’t include TNT, but he loves him some hockey so he showed up at the game last night to hang out with DJ Khaled, Gary Bettman and stop by the broadcasts in the US and Canada. He dropped an F Bomb on the Canadian audience, and then tried to get is $5,000 back from Mark Messier on the air after the first period.
  • As Blackhawks fans, we’re just focused on the draft and free agency. Which is why I took in everything I heard, watched and read from this past weekend’s Scouting Combine and updated my two-round mock draft this morning. And there was a change for Chicago at the No. 2 spot. Give it a look!
  • Chris Peters at FloHockey shared a load of thoughts and takeaways from his time at the Scouting Combine, and one of the sections specifically talks about one of the prospects the Blackhawks are reportedly considering at No. 2, Russian winger Ivan Demidov. Peters writes that Demidov is becoming more of a wild card in the draft because of the uncertainty with his situation in Russia.
  • In speaking with people in and around the combine in Buffalo, the sense I am getting is that Ivan Demidov’s chances of going among the first three picks in this draft is tenuous at best. There are still a number of concerns and some team personnel I spoke with are skeptical those concerns will be cleared up in June when Demidov travels to the U.S. for meetings with teams.

  • Peters also writes that Demidov is not going to skate for teams in Florida later this month when Russian prospects work out because he’s still recovering from an injury.
  • For what it’s worth, Scott Wheeler from The Athletic chimed in later last night with his sentiments, which don’t agree with what Peters is hearing. This doesn’t surprise me at all because, well, front offices and fans haven’t been able to see Russian prospects in a couple years so the unknown is going to come with more speculation and dialogue. Unless you’re a team scout in Russia, you don’t know much about these young men outside of what you can watch on social media or Youtube (which means very little).
  • Shayna Goldman at The Athletic took a look at this summer’s class of top restricted free agents and what their next contracts might look like. There are some intriguing names on the list, but I immediately put on my Blackhawks glasses and went looking for what was written about Martin Nečas, who we’ve talked about a good deal here. And this is intersting:
  • A one-year deal could be in both of their interests. Evolving Hockey has that coming in at $6.2 million, but that’s $1 million above his market value and likely more than Carolina can (or would want to) afford. And that’s what could make him a trade or offer-sheet target for other teams. Either path would give Necas a clean slate elsewhere and buy Carolina more cap space to work with.

  • This is fascinating to me, because it mentions an offer sheet. And it says that the $6.2M number is more than Carolina can afford. For what it’s worth, an offer sheet between $4,580,918 – $6,871,374 would cost a team picks in the first and third rounds of the 2025 NHL Draft — compensation the Blackhawks have (with a second pick in the first round from Toronto). If we’re talking about an offer sheet under that $6,871,374 number, perhaps a trade for multiple picks could be something Carolina would have to entertain given their financial limitations (remember: they also have to re-sign Seth Jarvis this summer as well).
  • Looking ahead at the Blackhawks’ roster situation for next season, I’m fascinated to see how the lines shape up on the left side. Taylor Hall will be back, Nick Foligno had a good year, we’re looking forward to improvement from Lukas Reichel and, potentially and a first full NHL season from Landon Slaggert. That’s four guys battling for the four left wing spots — not bad. But… I don’t see a sure-fire top line guy in that list. Do the Hawks try to run it back with Hall on Connor Bedard‘s left side with Philipp Kurashev? Or do they look for an improvement at the top of the lineup, meaning one of these guys will either have to switch sides (Reichel did play the right side) or… Rockford.
  • This is awesome news!
  • I guess Connor McDavid is good for ratings? Which means… maybe 7 million people saw how dirty his teammates were last night?
  • Finally, I’m always gonna be here for behind-the-scenes footage at a draft (NHL, MLB, NFL, lacrosse, swimming, whatever).
  • written by

    Tab Bamford has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks for almost two decades. He joined Bleacher Nation as the lead Blackhawks writer in May 2022. Tab is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and is the author of two books about the Blackhawks: "100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" (Triumph Books) and "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter/X/Instagram/Threads at @The1Tab

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