Lucas Wallmark was surprisingly not issued a qualifying offer by the Florida Panthers, despite being the perceived centerpiece of the Vincent Trocheck trade, and became a UFA. One of the more intriguing names available, the young forward has decided to take his talents to Chicago, as TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports he has agreed to terms with the Blackhawks. It is expected to be a one-year, $950K deal, a great value for a budding two-way center.
Wallmark’s lack of a qualifying offer has been one of the biggest head scratchers of the off-season thus far. Wallmark’s qualifying offer would have only cost the Panthers about $743K. For that much, the team could have retained a player who recorded 28 points as a rookie with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2018-19 and 25 points in just 67 games with Carolina and Florida this year. Not only are his offensive numbers well worth a minimal salary, but Wallmark is also a good defensive forward. A plus face-off man who is comfortable defending in his own zone, Wallmark has the awareness and ability to be match-up asset and penalty killer, often hard to find in a young player.
Florida’s loss is Chicago’s gain, as Wallmark is still a bargain at $950K. With the guidance of Jonathan Toews, Wallmark could improve as a two-way centerman and has some fellow young, talented players to skate with in the Blackhawks’ bottom-six. Although he is only on a one-year term, it would not be a surprise to see this pay off as a long-term investment for Chicago.