Saturday, May 25, 2024

Blackhawks Face Summer Calendar Full Of Deadlines While Fleshing Out Roster


From the moment the Blackhawks’ season ended a few years ago, summer vacation started for the entire team. The players will train hard, sure, and will look to come back in the fall even stronger than when they left. But the summer represents a much-needed and much-appreciated time for players to rest, recover, and enjoy time with their families that they don’t always get in the regular season.

For GM Kyle Davidson and his staff, however, the work has only just begun. Even after an important extension of the contract of star defenseman Alex Vlasic, nine players are currently scheduled to hit some sort of free agency this summer. If Davidson is to field a lineup, let alone a competitive one, he’ll face a packed schedule full of deadlines of all kinds set by the NHL. Below is a “road map” of every key date that should have the attention of Blackhawks fans from now until the season begins this fall.

May 7 – NHL Draft Lottery

As the second-worst finisher in the NHL, the Blackhawks have the second-best odds of landing the first overall pick, with a 13.5 percent chance to do so. After winning the lottery last year, they’ll hope to do it again to grab superstar forward Macklin Celebrini.

May 10-26 – IIHF World Championship

Often the biggest international hockey event on the calendar, this year’s world championship will feature five Blackhawks players. Alex Vlasic and Seth Jones will team up on Team USA’s blue line, while Connor Bedard will lead Team Canada, Petr Mrazek will mind the net for Czechia, and Philipp Kurashev will skate for Switzerland.

June 15 (or after Stanley Cup Final) – Deadline for first club-elected salary arbitration notification

NHL Teams can elect for arbitration with pending restricted free agents either on June 15 or 48 hours after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final, whichever happens later. With four depth players hitting restricted free agency this summer, it’s unclear how many will reach arbitration. If the Blackhawks don’t reach a deal with forward Joey Anderson by then, he could be a prime candidate to hit arbitration.

June 27 – NHL Awards in Las Vegas

The league already announced that Connor Bedard will be a finalist for the Calder Trophy, which he will almost certainly come away with. It’s unlikely that any other Blackhawks from this season will earn consideration for other awards.

June 28-29 – NHL Draft

Last summer, the draft represented the dawn of a new era in Chicago hockey when the team drafted Connor Bedard first overall, then came back and snagged Oliver Moore at 19th overall. This summer’s draft will prove to be just as important, as the Blackhawks are guaranteed both a top-four pick and another inside the top 20.

June 30-July 5 – Blackhawks Development Camp

Last year’s rookie class raved about their off-ice development camp, claiming it helped them grow closer to one another while having a bit of fun. This year’s camp will be off-ice as well, featuring what is sure to be another deep rookie class.

July 1 – Free Agency Begins

July 5 — Deadline for player-elected salary arbitration notification

July 6 — Deadline for second club-elected salary arbitration notification

July 20 – August 4 — Salary arbitration hearings

August 6 — Deadline for salary arbitration decisions to be rendered

September 11-15 – Blackhawks Rookie Camp

The Blackhawks were featured in the Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase last year in Minnesota, so it’s unlikely they’ll do so again. Still, rookie camp is a great chance to get a first look at the Blackhawks’ new rookie class.

September 18 — Start of Blackhawks Training Camp

The Blackhawks’ training camp will be a great chance for players like Gavin Hayes, Samuel Savoie, and Paul Ludwinski to raise the hype before they start their first professional seasons. It’s also a great chance to see how well the incoming draft class gels with the franchise cornerstones who are already in place.

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