In the Chicago Blackhawks’ world, news has been pretty slow this week. There aren’t many new things to report on, except for two tidbits. So, this edition of News & Rumors is focusing on the rumors. The rumor mill came out with a big bang this week, and a lot of the stuff that has been mentioned can not be overlooked. With that, here is the latest from Chicago:
There was an article published on Sept. 12 that is not only significant to the hockey world in general, but also to the Blackhawks. TSN’s Frank Seravalli detailed how teams are coping with the loss of revenue since the pandemic hit. Some teams have reduced employee salaries, while others fired staff altogether. But, the Blackhawks are one of the teams Seravalli mentioned that have enacted pay cuts.
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He detailed what that entails; which is a 20 percent reduction for salaries above 200,000, and a 15 percent reduction for salaries of $100,000 to $200,000, with the elimination of bonuses. It is an interesting insight for those who are curious as to how the team is dealing with the loss of revenue.
A fun bit of news for fans is that the Blackhawks announced on Sept. 8, that the polls are now open for the Fans Choice Awards. You can cast your vote on all of your favorite moments from the season. Some of the categories include “Blackhawk of the Year” and “Best Blackhawks Instagram Follow”. Some of the players with nominations include Patrick Kane, Kirby Dach, Jonathan Toews, and Adam Boqvist.
The team will be adding new categories daily. Go and make your voice heard! The winners will be announced the week of Sept. 14.
Scott Powers of The Athletic came out with an article on Sept. 10 that details all of the scoops he has picked up on about what the Blackhawks are up to. There were quite a few things that he mentioned, but here are some of the big highlights from his piece: (from ‘What I’m hearing about the Blackhawks’ offseason so far, The AthleticNHL, 09/10/2020).
Powers mentioned that a lot is being held up right now based on goaltender Corey Crawford. He mentioned that while his decision on whether to stay or leave is still in progress, don’t expect to hear much about the rest of the roster. These decisions will likely be made once Crawford makes his.
Powers mentioned that he doesn’t believe that the Blackhawks have had discussions on an extension with center Dylan Strome yet. Although, he mentioned that is likely due to Crawford.
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Strome is the one player on the team whose future in Chicago raises a lot of questions. It would make a lot of sense for him to stay and grow with the team. But, it would also make a lot of sense if he chose to leave. Powers believes that Strome could get some offer sheets from other teams because of his restricted free agent status. He doesn’t yet have arbitration rights, which makes him eligible to be tendered an offer sheet.
Keep in mind that if another team tenders a player an offer sheet, the Blackhawks have to match the offer to keep the player. Hypothetically, if Strome is tendered an offer sheet that is above the Blackhawks’ means, then they could lose him.
Powers stated that the Blackhawks have not told center Zack Smith whether they intend to buy him out or not. It is by popular belief that the Blackhawks are either going to buy out Smith or defenseman Olli Maatta because of their big contracts. In Smith’s case, he is making over $3 million until the end of next season. Buying him out would help create more salary-cap space. It looks like we will find out Chicago’s decision, soon because the deadline for buyouts is Oct. 8.
I think many fans are anxious to hear about left-wing Dominik Kubalik’s status with the Blackhawks. As one of the best rookies in the league, it would be nice to see him and the Blackhawks come to an agreement. Powers stated that the projection for his next contract could be $3.9 million for one year, and $4.4 million for a two-year contract. Also, like Strome, Powers believes that Kubalik may be tendered offer sheets as well.
I expect that the rumor mill will get even hotter. We’ll keep you up to date with that, and more!