In a rare exchange of intangible assets, the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks have agreed to swap an unsigned prospect for a draft pick. The Kings have announced that the rights to European pro forward Dominik Kubalik have been assigned to the Blackhawks in exchange for a 2019 fifth-round pick. Kubalik will be placed on Chicago’s reserve list indefinitely.
Kubalik, 23, was a Kings’ seventh-round pick back in 2013 from the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves. However, he returned to his native Czech Republic after one more junior season and has not played in North America since. The 6’2″ two-way winger spent several years in the Czech pro leagues, but has enjoyed back-to-back strong campaigns now with HC Ambri-Piotta of the Swiss NLA. Kubalik registered 27 points in 25 games last year, only to top that with a team-best 43 points in 36 games thus far. Kubalik was also a contributor for the Czech entries at the Winter Olympics and World Championships last year. The late-round waiver seems to be developing into a capable pro.
While it’s unclear whether Kubalik has any intentions of signing in the NHL and, if so, if his ability will translate, this seems like a worthwhile gamble for the Blackhawks. Chicago also had two fifth-round picks already, belonging to the Arizona Coyotes and Tampa Bay Lightning. The pick sent to the Kings belongs to the Coyotes and will thus be earlier in the round. Los Angeles clearly is not convinced that Kubalik would ever be a major piece of their team are likely happy to recoup another draft pick, as the rebuilding team had just their seven original picks prior to this deal.