The 23-year-old forward missed all of this past season recovering from surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee. He scored 10 goals and 26 points in 65 regular-season games and played in eight games in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“With Alex’s pedigree and being only 23-years-old, we feel as if there is still plenty of room for growth in his game. He is just scratching the surface of the type of player we feel he is capable of becoming,” Blackhawks president of hockey operations and general manager Stan Bowman said in a release.
Nylander received a qualifying offer on July 26 that kept him a restricted free agent without arbitration rights. The process essentially meant the Blackhawks would re-sign him but downplayed the need to do it quickly.
“This will be an important season for him to perform consistently and contribute offensively,” Bowman continued. “His size (6-foot-1, 192 pounds) and skill are a unique combination that make him an intriguing option for our coaching staff to utilize anywhere in the lineup.”
Nylander joins a host of returning young forwards competing for a roster spot in training camp: MacKenzie Entwistle, Brandon Hagel, Henrik Borgström, Adam Gaudette, Mike Hardman, Reese Johnson, and Philipp Kurashev. Lukas Reichel, the Blackhawks’ first-round pick (No. 17 overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft, will also be trying to make Chicago’s NHL roster.
The Blackhawks acquired Nylander from the Buffalo Sabres for defenseman Henri Jokiharju in July 2019. Nylander was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft by the Sabres.