The Chicago Blackhawks announced that they have official re-signed forward Philipp Kurashev and defenseman Caleb Jones each to one-year contracts. Jones’ contract is worth $1.35MM, while Kurashev’s is worth $750K. Both players were currently RFAs. By re-signing the pair, Chicago has now re-signed all remaining RFAs on their books, concluding all of their remaining necessary offseason work at least.
Caleb, the younger brother of fellow Chicago defenseman Seth Jones, recently completed his first year as a member of the Blackhawks, where he set several career-highs, including five goals and 10 assists for 15 points over 51 games. While not possessing his older brother’s star-power, the younger brother has established himself as a reliable defender for the Blackhawks who can play in all situations. In the low-points of a full rebuild, Chicago is in a position to evaluate all talent in the organization and see who can take the next step with them, and with minutes surely available for the taking, the 25-year-old will have plenty of opportunities to show the Blackhawks he is part of the plan.
Once a dynamic junior player, Kurashev hasn’t yet found the success in the NHL that he had had as a member of the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL or the Swiss national team. Kurashev put up as many as 65 points in a season with the Remparts and impressed as much, if not more so, playing for Switzerland over three World Junior Championships. Between 2017 and 2019, Kurashev recorded 22 points in 24 games in the tournament, highlighted by his 10 goals and four assists in just 12 games at the 2019 World Juniors. Since coming to the NHL, Kurashev has been a solid player, but hasn’t taken the next step many were hoping for during his sensational junior performances. As a rookie, Kurashev had 16 points in 58 games for Chicago, following it up with a relatively similar 21 points in 67 games in 2021-22, in addition to three points in three games in the AHL. Much the same as Jones, there will be plenty of opportunity for Kurashev to take another step in development and impress Chicago’s brass as the rebuild moves on.