Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks executives have a jam-packed week coming up. For most NHL team, it's "go time!" and the Hawks are no different.
The draft has finished up and I think the Hawks came away quite happy. They got their guy in Kirby Dach and were able to grab a guy they highly coveted at #2 in Alex Vlasic.
Here was my HERE is my recap from the weekend in case you missed it.
The Hawks get back to work again today with a self-inflicted event that is a pure PR / Marketing move – the Kirby Dach press conference.
This all takes place this morning at 11 am CST. You can stream it live at ChicagoBlackhawks.com.
This is a very unprecedented move, but it's fairly obvious that John McDonough and the Blackhawks are pulling out all the tricks to get the fans excited about hockey in Chicago again.
Heck, if the Hawks and Dach's agent worked through the weekend, we may even see Stan Bowman announce that they have signed Kirby Dach to an entry-level contract already. I've heard that could be a possibility.
Next up, Stan needs to get his RFAs at least qualified by the Tuesday afternoon deadline.
He alluded to the fact that they are still deciding on some players. That's nothing new as having contract space is valuable and teams are being more selective with their RFAs in today's NHL.
Currently, according to CapFriendly, the Hawks have 35/50 contract fulfilled with 11 RFAs in their possession. Signing every single one would bring them to 46 (thanks grade 4 math), so re-upping all players was not going to happen.
After reading the tea leaves, my prediction is:
RFAs qualified + signed
= Sikura, Kampf, Perlini, Quenneville, Luke Johnson, Blake Hillman
RFAs qualified + but might not sign
= Forsling (could head overseas), Ejdsell (already overseas), Forsberg (who knows what's up there, but a sign and trade wouldn't be out of the question)
RFAs not qualified
= Spencer Watson, Anthony Louis
Stan has some work to do and some of these RFAs will get sorted out officially (either way) this week.
Switching gears to UFAs, the courting period began on Sunday.
It makes a lot of sense that the NHL added this to the process. It's like a glorified job interview but where the interviewee has more power. It's more like getting headhunted, I guess.
It is important to visit the new city that you're thinking about picking up and moving your life - which may involve kid(s) – for the next 3, 4, maybe even 7 years.
It's also great that they added this because there is more speculation and rumors that come out leading up to July 1st.
On the Hawks front, the names I mentioned in the last blog - Joe Pavelski, Anders Lee, Cory Perry, Ryan Dzingel, Mats Zuccarello and Colin Wilson are guys that I've heard and/or read have ties to Chicago.
I'm still hearing that the Hawks are being very aggressive on the trade talks. The Vegas connection is legit and with William Karlsson signed now signed, expect a trade or two to go down in the next couple of days.
A few more teams I heard to keep an eye on in regards to the Blackhawks are the Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets and Vancouver Canucks.
I will have more rumors and fun updates as I hear them.
Lastly, I want to put a call out for my next mailbag blog. I will be doing an "Armchair GM" mailbag where you send me your rosters with the moves YOU think the Blackhawks should make over the summer.
To ensure your roster is cap compliant, I will ask you to make it in CapFriendly.com.
For an example, here is one I made for fun.
Send those to me in the next couple of days and I will pick a few and analyze them and pick a winner – which will, of course, be the roster I deem the best and most realistic.
See ya out there!