As the league begins to decompress from a busy NHL Draft with some blockbuster news, the Chicago Blackhawks are sure to be in the forefront of many discussions after being one of the most active teams on the market this week. One question that remains to be answered is how their Hall of Fame talent feels about the club’s direction. The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta confirms today that the team will reach out to winger Patrick Kane “in the very near future” to have a conversation about his future with the team.
Both Kane and Jonathan Toews each have just one year remaining on their matching contracts, both carrying a cap hit of $10.5MM. They also both have full say in what the future holds for them in the form of full no-movement clauses. If one or both do end up wanting a trade out of Chicago in order to make another championship run, it makes sense that the Blackhawks would want to know now. The highest value for them will likely be this offseason, as the risk of declining performance could lower their trade value by next year’s deadline.
- There’s some good old-fashioned drama in the State of Hockey. Many believed the Minnesota Wild had reinforced their goaltending situation by re-signing Marc-Andre Fleury to a two-year contract yesterday, but as quotes from general manager Bill Guerin and Cam Talbot’s agent George Bazos reveal, Talbot may not be entirely happy with the team’s choice to keep Fleury around. Bazos gave a cryptic quote after meeting with Guerin during the third round of today’s draft, saying that Guerin “had a lot to think about.” Guerin countered later, reminding media that Talbot is still under contract, and said that “George can say whatever the hell he wants.” If the relationship turns sour quickly between Talbot and the Wild, it could leave them in an interesting position next season in the crease.
- The deadline for issuing qualifying offers to restricted free agents is July 11, and the Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t made a decision on whether or not to qualify winger Ondrej Kase. Kase is eligible for arbitration, and after producing 27 points in 50 games, the award might be too rich for Toronto’s blood if Kase elects for it. Not issuing a qualifying offer to Kase wouldn’t prevent him from returning to Toronto, but it would make him an unrestricted free agent, and could sign anywhere in the league.