It’s been a rollercoaster NHL career so far for the 26-year-old Kubalik. After scoring 30 goals in 68 games during his rookie season in 2019-20, it appeared as though the Chicago Blackhawks had pulled a star out of the Swiss leagues. The lanky winger clicked immediately with Chicago’s top talent and signed a two-year, $7.4MM deal that fall that set him up nicely as a key part of their future.
Two years later and Kubalik scored just 15 goals in 78 games and is left unqualified by the team, scared of an arbitration award that would have been hefty. The Red Wings are apparently happy to snap him up, sign him to a reasonable deal for just two years and plug him into a forward group that suddenly looks formidable.
With Andrew Copp and David Perron also joining the Red Wings today, Detroit head coach Derek Lalonde should have plenty of options to mix and match as he sees fit, trying to find the best chemistry combinations up front. If Kubalik can click with a top forward like he did that rookie season, perhaps he can get back to the 30-goal man that he debuted as. If not, Detroit hasn’t put itself in a dangerous situation, since a $2.5MM contract won’t affect their overall financial structure much and they can walk away in two years if necessary.