The last few days have come with a few new contracts in the NHL, with restricted free agents like Justin Bailey and Oliver Kylington inking new two-way deals. We’re still waiting on the big RFA dominoes to fall though, with one of those being Chicago Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome who remains unsigned. This morning, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman told reporters including Brandon Cain of NHL.com that the team has had conversations with Strome’s representatives and is optimistic something will get done, but couldn’t provide any timeline on the process.
Strome, 23, was included in our look at the mid-tier restricted free agents still waiting on contracts, but for Chicago, he’s all that really matters right now. The team’s roster appears largely set for the upcoming season, given that Strome’s eventual deal will likely eat up a good chunk of the remaining cap space. The young forward hasn’t lived up to the third-overall pick that Arizona used on him in the 2015 draft but does have 89 points in 106 games since coming to Chicago. As the team inevitably moves away from aging franchise icons like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane over the next few years, a player like Strome could step up and be a leader for the Blackhawks.
- When the Toronto Maple Leafs dealt Kasperi Kapanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins, much of the focus was on the first-round pick coming the other way. The Maple Leafs actually acquired another piece in that deal though, 20-year-old center Filip Hallander, who had been drafted in the second round in 2018. Hallander was expected to come to North America this winter to take part in training camp with Toronto but is now going to stay in Sweden where he plays for Lulea HF in the SHL. Hallander has 10 points in 21 games this season and is an intriguing prospect for the Maple Leafs, whose system didn’t have much center depth beyond the NHL.
- In his daily update, Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic tweeted this morning that there is a call scheduled for this evening between the executive board of the NHLPA to update the player reps on where things stand. LeBrun does not expect the call to include a vote as the documentation for the upcoming season is not yet completed. While there seemed like some momentum for things to be finalized this weekend, it does not appear as that will happen tonight.