Blackhawks: Ten Pending Free Agents and Their Free Agency Fate

Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Following the trade deadline, numerous contract-year players have remained with the Chicago Blackhawks, despite the rumors surrounding a few of them.

The Blackhawks currently have six pending UFAs (including both of their rostered goalies), as well as ten pending RFAs.  Leading up to the trade deadline, there were several pending free agents named in trade rumors: Calvin de Haan, Dylan Strome, and Dominik Kubalik to name a few.

However, the only players to get dealt at (or before) the deadline were Brandon Hagel, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Ryan Carpenter.

Here are the free agency fates of the Blackhawks’ pending free agents.

With just 11 games remaining in the season (and the Blackhawks officially eliminated from playoff contention), it is time to look at who to resign and who to let walk.  This will be a list of five UFAs and five RFAs and what I think will happen/what I would like to see happen.


Calvin de Haan – D

de Haan is solid defensively, leading the league in blocked shots with 163.  He is averaging about 19 minutes per game, and he is a guy that can play on all three defensive pairs with any partner.  He won’t be signed for his offensive game, even though he has a career-high 3 goals this year.

Despite his strong defensive game, I don’t think de Haan will be a Chicago Blackhawk next season.  His name has been constantly thrown around in trade rumors, and I think he will sign elsewhere in the offseason.

Erik Gustafsson – D

If I’m being honest, I’ve never been a fan of Gus.  I didn’t like him during his first stint in Chicago, and I was mad when Bowman brought him back.  He is an AHL defenseman at best that makes horrible plays offensively and defensively.

At this rate, I would pay any team in the league to please take him off our hands.  With that being said, he’ll probably be resigned and continue to take ice time away from guys like Alec Regula, Alex Vlasic, and Ian Mitchell.

Sam Lafferty – F

Lafferty was brought over from Pittsburgh in exchange for Alex Nylander.  This trade could not have turned out better, especially after the Hawks dealt Hagel to Tampa Bay.  Sam Lafferty is a gritty, sandpaper forward who digs in deep on the forecheck and goes 110% on every shift, as well as a little bit of finesse in the offensive zone.

Add a little bit more finish to his game, and Sam Lafferty is the next Brandon Hagel for the Hawks.  I’m smashing the “resign” button on Lafferty all day long.

Collin Delia – G

With Marc-Andre Fleury being dealt to the Minnesota Wild, Collin Delia was called to back up Kevin Lankinen.  Since his call-up, Delia has been solid.  In four games played this season, Delia has a .902 save percentage and a 3.92 goals against average.

As for his future with Chicago, I don’t think he will be resigned.  The Blackhawks have the possibility of Lankinen returning, along with Arvid Soderblom, Cale Morris, Jaxson Stauber, and Drew Commesso in the pipeline.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Delia walk this summer.

Kevin Lankinen – G

After being the Blackhawks number one guy last season, Kevin Lankinen took a backseat for most of this year because of the addition of Marc-Andre Fleury.  After Fleury left, Lankinen once again became the go-to netminder.

In 22 games played, Lankinen has a save percentage of .888 and a goals against average of 3.61, a significant drop from last season’s stats.  Despite the current drop, Chicago should resign Lankinen because he has shown that he can easily get settled into being the number one guy in net.


Dylan Strome – F

Strome has played up and down the Blackhawks lineup, seen his numbers go up and down, and been in and out of the lineup.  Ever Since Coach King reassembled the line of Strome, Kane, and DeBrincat, Strome has seen his stats climb, setting himself up for a career year.

He is a center that the Hawks can build around and is a legitimate top-line player.  I have a whole article chock-full of reasons the Blackhawks should resign Strome. This decision should be a no-brainer for Blackhawks management.

Kirby Dach – F

Dach was the 3rd overall pick in the 2019 NHL entry draft.  His production isn’t near where fans thought it would be, but that doesn’t mean we should give up on him.  Kirby Dach is not a bust.

At 21 years old, Dach has tallied just 57 points in 148 NHL games.  His career face-off percentage is 34.5%, but that will improve with time.  I think it would be best to sign Dach to a short-term deal and give him time to fully develop into an NHL-caliber center.

Dominik Kubalik – F

After scoring 30 goals and 46 points in his rookie campaign, Kubalik has cooled down tremendously.  He is another player that has played up and down the lineup under both Colliton and King.

Chicago should have dealt Kubalik at the deadline to at least get a draft pick in return, rather than letting him walk.  However, a change of scenery would be best for Dominik Kubalik.

Philipp Kurashev – F

Kurashev is a bottom-six forward at best with the way he has been producing.  His production has been minimal, and he rarely goes on hot streaks.  Kurashev is just not a great fit on the Blackhawks, and much like Kubalik, a change of scenery can do Philipp Kurashev some good.

Kurashev is another player that has seen time on all four lines and probably should have been moved at the deadline to get some sort of return.  At the end of the day, he probably won’t be in Chicago next season.

Caleb Jones – D

Caleb Jones is a defenseman that can play on all three defensive pairings.  He has played with Riley Stillman, Calvin de Haan, Connor Murphy, Erik Gustafsson, and his older brother Seth.  He has arguably played best when paired with Seth.

Caleb Jones is one of the few Blackhawks that has a positive +/- rating on the season, and he is having a career season with goals, assists, and points.  At 24 years old, Caleb Jones should stick around with a short-term deal that allows him to grow into a more constant role with Chicago.

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Time will determine their free agency fates, but this is what I think will happen/what I would like to see happen.