With Chicago Blackhawks’ general manager Kyle Davidson taking a full scorched-earth approach to the team’s rebuild this summer, center Dylan Strome was just one of several roster casualties.
On Monday morning, the Blackhawks did not submit a qualifying offer for Strome. He would have received at least $3.6 million as a restricted free agent. Strome then hit the market as an unrestricted free agent — and ultimately inked a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Washington Capitals on Thursday.
Strome’s Last Hurrah in Chicago
Strome’s final season with the Blackhawks was a peculiar one, filled with many ups and downs along the way. Dating back to the beginning of training camp, Strome frequently appeared in trade rumors and his future in Chicago felt bleak. Then, he was a healthy scratch in seven of the club’s opening 11 games under Jeremy Colliton.
Strome finally gained an increased role once Derek King took over as the interim head coach. In the second half of the season, he almost exclusively centered the Blackhawks’ top line between Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane. He thrived in that role, rattling off points at a near point-per-game clip. Not too shabby for a guy that couldn’t even crack the lineup in October.
In total, Strome — the former third overall selection in the 2015 NHL Draft– tallied 48 points in 66 games for the Blackhawks last season while netting a career-best 22 goals. For his determination and ability to overcome adversity, Strome was the team’s nominee for the 2022 Masterton Trophy, which is annually awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the game of hockey.
Despite being the top center for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2021-22, Dylan Strome was not part of Davidson’s plans moving forward and his qualifying rights went on the trade block once the season wrapped up. Elliotte Friedman reported there was “a lot of interest” in Strome on the free-agent market, but the Blackhawks were unable to find a suitor via trade for the greater part of the year.
Interestingly enough, Strome ended up netting just under the $3.6 million he was due on his qualifying offer in his deal with the Capitals. Something feels off here…
Regardless, Strome is Washington-bound and should receive a glorious opportunity to play a meaningful role for a Stanley Cup contender. Plus, with Nicklas Backstrom out for a good chunk of next season due to injury, Strome could see even more time inside the Capitals’ top-six forward group — and a chance to play with the ‘Great 8’, Alexander Ovechkin.
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