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Analyzing Day 1 Free Agency Moves for the Blackhawks

After a busy first day of free agency for the Blackhawks, let’s take a look at each of the major moves and what each player brings.

Andreas Athanasiou Blackhawks
Photo: John Locher/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

With the first day of NHL Free Agency in the books, Chicago Blackhawks fans can digest the moves made by the team on Wednesday. Of the four major moves made, they all indicate rebuild with short-term deals that can be flipped for assets. That being said, each move brings an interesting element to the roster. Let’s dive in to each of the signings.

Max Domi

Starting with the most notable name of the group, Max Domi is an interesting player. With a history of both playmaking and grit, Domi fits the style that the Blackhawks are building. He certainly feels like the type of player that you hate to play against, but love to have on your team.

From a scoring perspective, Domi isn’t much of an actual goal scorer, but rather a passer. His best offensive season came in 2018-19 with the Montreal Canadiens when he tallied 72 points (28 goals, 44 assists) in 82 games. However, since then, he has not scored more than 17 goals in a season and his best point total since is 44. To tell the truth, $3 million for one season of a 40-point player is worth the risk for Chicago.

One small thing to remember is the “beef” with Connor Murphy. As Charlie Roumeliotis pointed out, these two have a history and it will be interesting to hear about the first time they meet in Chicago.

Andreas Athanasiou

Andreas Athanasiou feels like he’s been a fit in Chicago for years now. In fact, I suggested the Blackhawks should sign Athanasiou a full two years ago! Even two years later, the Blackhawks add a new dimension of speed to their forward group.

Athanasiou has proven he can be a reliable goal scorer. That said, his greatest downfall has been health. Since 2016-17, his first full season in the NHL, the former Red Wing has only played over 70 games twice. On the other hand, his career-high season in 2018-19 saw him play 76 games and score 30 goals. This past season, he battled a number of injuries. But, the 27-year-old was still productive, potting 11 goals. Over a hypothetical 70 games or so, that would translate to about 27 goals. Not too shabby for a depth, rental signing. Oh, and did we mention his speed?

Alex Stalock

Although not a sexy signing for a backup goalie, Alex Stalock has had some success in his career. Having been around the league for awhile, Stalock has predominantly been a backup. When called into heavy action however, he thrived. Back in 2019-20, Stalock appeared in 38 games for the Minnesota Wild (with 36 starts) and finished with a 20-11-4 record, 2.67 GAA, and .910 save percentage.

Regardless of fans reactions, the signing makes a lot of sense. He’s a decent goaltender that does not cost the team much. His $750K contract is easy to stomach behind Petr Mrazek. Mrazek carries a $3.8 million cap hit for this year and next.

Colin Blackwell

Colin Blackwell was the only player to receive a contract for more than one year. Blackwell signed for two years at $1.2 million per season. Although an under-the-radar signing, Blackwell brings a style that Kyle Davidson is very much a fan of. In fact, he gave Sam Lafferty, a similar player, almost an identical contract just after the season concluded.

Blackwell spent time in Nashville before ending up in New York with the Rangers and Seattle. He was dealt at the deadline last season to Toronto where he played 19 regular season games. Blackwell’s best scoring season came in the shortened 2021 campaign when he recorded 12 goals in 47 games. Besides, he feels like a player who has a chance to make a major impact and potentially be on the move again at the deadline next season. Who knows, maybe Blackwell and Lafferty will become bash brothers for the foreseeable future?

What’s Next?

There are minimal rumors surfacing about the Blackhawks’ interest in certain players. That said, it’s hard to imagine the Blackhawks are done. With some cap space to spare, the team could take on a contract with additional compensation. Or, the team can continue signing players to fill the rest of the roster. We’ll learn more in the coming days and weeks, but for now there are some new names for fans to learn more about.

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Work as an accountant by day. Huge Chicago sports fan. Played college football and only wish I could skate well enough to play hockey. Twitter: @rnldluce Instagram: @rnldluce

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