Sunday, June 30, 2024

Only Two Of Nine Pending RFAs Receive Qualifying Offer For Blackhawks At Deadline

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While many describe the NHL Draft as the culmination of the year for GMs around the league, that’s far from the case when it comes to making decisions on players already signed. Sunday marks the deadline for NHL clubs to submit a qualifying offer to their pending restricted free agents, with offers needing to be extended to those players by 4 p.m. CDT. For the Blackhawks, that deadline came and went quietly – almost too quietly.

Though Chicago had a list of nine players hitting restricted free agency, GM Kyle Davidson only extended an offer to two of them, effectively releasing the other eight to sign with other teams. AHL defensemen Isaak Phillips and Louis Crevier did receive an offer, a somewhat unsurprising result of the high upside they’ve exhibited with the IceHogs and their small amount of experience at the NHL level. From last year’s big-league group, forwards Joey Anderson, Taylor Raddysh, Reese Johnson and MacKenzie Entwistle were sent elsewhere. Additionally, from the AHL, forward Michal Teplý, blueliners Louis Crevier and Filip Roos, and goalie Jaxson Stauber were not extended offers with their deals expiring.

There are a few surprising names from that list, perhaps none more than Joey Anderson. He was finally given an extended shot at the top level this past season in 55 games, consistently spending time on the third line alongside Jason Dickinson. He wasn’t the most productive offensively with 17 points in that span, but he led the entire team in plus-minus at +5. His all-around success may have been a result of Dickinson’s stellar play, but he certainly had an opportunity to remain an efficient player in Chicago.

One of the biggest names in question in the qualifying offer season was Taylor Raddysh. He found surprising success in the form of 20 goals in 2022-23, but didn’t fare as well last year with just 14 total points in 73 games. Raddysh had emphasized that he would like to remain in Chicago in order to “rediscover his form from 2022-23”, but it seems the Blackhawks weren’t quite as optimistic.

The team also failed to qualify Jaxson Stauber, the only goaltender in the system hitting RFA status. There wasn’t much hope that he would become an NHL-caliber netminder anytime soon, and the belief was that he wasn’t exactly an upgrade from Arvid Soderblom. Additionally, the team is incredibly high on the futures of Drew Commesso and Adam Gajan, hoping they’ll instead be the ones to lock down the net in Chicago down the road.

The fact that many of these players didn’t receive qualifying offers doesn’t mean they won’t be brought back in some fashion – merely that the Blackhawks now lose their exclusive negotiating rights with them. Anderson, for example, could be brought back after hitting the open market, as the decision could have simply been to avoid arbitration. Still, with the infusion of young talent coming this fall, a few players will be headed elsewhere, with guys like Ethan Del Mastro, Wyatt Kaiser, Ilya Mikheyev and Frank Nazar highlighting those who will be with the Blackhawks full-time this season.

Finally, forward Sam Lafferty, whose rights were acquired by Chicago as part of the Mikheyev trade last week, will have to be signed by Monday morning, or the exclusive negotiating rights with the pending UFA will expire.

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