Friday, July 12, 2024

Blackhawks Linked To Superstar Forward With Significant Free Agency Buzz

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Given that the Blackhawks aren’t expected to be in playoff contention this season, they aren’t likely to acquire any huge free agents this summer, especially players on the older side. Their goal has always been to develop a strong young core of skaters, maintaining financial flexibility for as long as possible.

But last week, rumors started flying that Chicago could be landing a much bigger fish – one of the biggest names on the free agent market. With the Hurricanes all but guaranteed to move on from superstar winger Jake Guentzel this summer, the Blackhawks have been tied to the veteran skater more than once.

Top insider Elliotte Friedman was busy addressing the Blackhawks’ roster building on the Jeff Marek Show last week when he dropped a bomb of a prediction.

“Guentzel is a midwest guy. Chicago is a midwest location. [The Blackhawks] realize they have to move things forward and they have to begin surrounding Bedard with some players. I’m going with Chicago because of the proximity to where Guentzel is from.”

– Elliotte Friedman, the Jeff Marek Show

Location would be far from the only factor in Guentzel’s decision, given that the Avalanche and Wild would also be in the mix if it was. But Chicago also boasts one of the lowest projected cap hits in the entire league, freeing them up to make a splash if they choose to do so.

On last Friday’s 32 Thoughts Podcast, Friedman backed up his thoughts by telling listeners the Blackhawks may even consider accelerating the process. Teams can’t negotiate with Guentzel until free agency opens on July 1, but the Hurricanes are reportedly letting teams know they’re willing to move his negotiation rights for a mid-round pick. Again, with two third-round picks at their disposal, the possibilities for the Blackhawks are certainly intriguing.

The rumors have become so prominent that GM Kyle Davidson was asked about a possible move while speaking with the media at the NHL Scouting Combine.

“If it makes sense and we feel there’s value there, then it’s something we’ll explore. You talk about and you think about everything, and you evaluate every situation that could present itself: trade, free agency, the different players available in the draft. They just have to make sense in the grand scheme of things. If they don’t, you move past them. If they do, you consider them, and even those, they probably never happen.”

– GM Kyle Davidson

That’s not a huge vote of confidence, but there’s no question the thought of Chicago pursuing a huge free agent is an exciting one for Blackhawks fans. Many didn’t expect Chicago to be such a prominent player in free agency at this stage in the rebuild, and every indication so far is that the Blackhawks will be much more aggressive this summer, a welcome change for those who supported the team throughout a difficult rebuild.

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