Earlier this week, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that the Chicago Blackhawks were not expected to extend a qualifying offer to forward Dylan Strome, and now it appears forward Dominik Kubalik will not be receiving one either, says The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus. Failing to qualify Kubalik is not much of a surprise given the choice not to keep Strome around either, and Chicago’s plan to conduct a full-scale rebuild. Had Chicago wanted to qualify Kubalik, the offer would have had to be for $4MM, relatively high as compared to the 32 points of production Kubalik offered in 78 games this season.
Choosing not to qualify Kubalik doesn’t necessarily foreclose the possibility of a return to the Blackhawks, as the move might be to avoid Kubalik accepting the offer or filing for arbitration, but it would make a reunion highly unlikely nonetheless. Although far from a bright side, this doesn’t signify a major blow to Kubalik’s future success, the Czech winger still capable of producing offense, even tallying as much as 30 goals as a rookie in 2019-20, in just 68 games. With a somewhat significant decline from his previous production in 2021-22, Kubalik may not find another deal at the qualifying offer he was expecting, but should find himself with interest from teams that are on a budget but looking to add a spark on offense.
- From a player who seems on his way to a new team to a player who appears to be staying with his one and only team, The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz reports that the New York Islanders are not only not shopping forward Josh Bailey, but he may not be available altogether. The veteran winger has been a staple in the Islanders’ lineup for 14 years and has two more years at $5MM left on his contract. With the team needing to clear some cap space if they want to add offense and re-sign RFA defensemen Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov, Bailey had been rumored to be an expendable piece with a relatively significant cap hit the team could cut out.
- Peter Baugh, who covers the Colorado Avalanche for The Athletic, says that talks between the Avalanche and winger Andre Burakovsky have been quiet, however Burakovsky does still hope to remain in Colorado. With the veteran a pending UFA, and the market opening up on Wednesday afternoon, if Colorado wants to keep him around, the talks will likely have to intensify shortly to get something done. The forward has seen his production take a massive step forward since being traded to Colorado from the Washington Capitals in the summer of 2019, hitting a career-high 61 points in 80 games this season. In addition to Colorado’s need to balance the salary cap along with other pending UFAs in Nazem Kadri and Valeri Nichushkin, Burakovsky also brings with him a streaky nature, leaving his breakout and free agency with question marks surrounding it.
- According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, talks between the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs on goaltender Matt Murray have intensified, though nothing is done just yet. Murray has been one of the most frequently discussed names of the young offseason, with a deal to the Buffalo Sabres seeming to materialize before Murray killed it via his no-trade clause. The goaltender has two more years carrying a $6.25MM cap hit left on his contract, and any trade would likely require Ottawa to retain some salary while also potentially including an asset as well.