As expected, the Chicago Blackhawks have signed Czech forward Dominik Kubalik to a one-year entry-level contract. Kubalik most recently suited up for the Czech Republic at the IIHF World Championship where he recorded 12 points in 10 games.
Kubalik, 23, was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Kings back in 2013 but saw his rights traded to the Blackhawks in January. Perhaps the Kings knew they wouldn’t be able to sign him, but it is still surprising that they would give up on a player performing as well as he was overseas. Kubalik destroyed the competition in Switzerland this season, recording 57 points in 50 games for Ambri-Piotta to lead the NLA in scoring and was named both the league’s best forward and most valuable player.
It’s not the first time that Kubalik had found success in a European league, as he had previously dominated in the Czech Republic recording seasons of 25 and 29 goals despite playing only 48 and 51 games in those respective seasons. His performance at the World Championship shouldn’t shock anyone, as he performed well there and at the Olympics last year as well.
The 6’2″ winger will immediately compete for a spot on the Blackhawks next season, but it won’t be the first time he’s suiting up in North America. Kubalik played parts of two seasons in the OHL after being selected 27th overall in the 2012 CHL Import Draft, but didn’t find enough success to really cement himself as a potential NHL prospect.
Kubalik will be a restricted free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season.