While former college hockey star Anders Bjork finished his season on a high note after a trade to the Chicago Blackhawks, scoring five points in his last four games and eight in 13 games overall, it seems Chicago won’t be issuing a qualifying offer. The Athletic’s Scott Powers reports that the Blackhawks “aren’t planning to give a qualifying offer,” though that “doesn’t mean the Blackhawks won’t necessarily re-sign” Bjork, just that they don’t want to issue a qualifying offer at a value of $1.8MM. (subscription link)
Set to turn 27 in August, Bjork spent most of last season in the AHL with the Rochester Americans, the longest stretch he’d spent in the minor leagues in his career. He’d previously been mostly an NHL option, with AHL stretches limited to just a handful of games. He didn’t overwhelm with Rochester, scoring 25 points in 42 games, and was eventually traded to Chicago for future considerations. Bjork showed some life under head coach Luke Richardson in Chicago, and that solid run of eight points in 13 games should serve him well heading into the open market, even if he may not receive a contract at the same value as his qualifying offer.
Some other notes from across the NHL:
- Russian blueliner Dmitri Simashev was recently ranked 19th in Bob McKenzie’s final draft rankings of the cycle for TSN, though he could end up going even higher than that at the draft next week. As relayed by CHEK’s Rick Dhaliwal, Simashev’s agent Dan Milstein says 24 of the NHL’s 32 teams have asked for a meeting with Simashev at the draft in Nashville. He’s a rangy six-foot-four blueliner currently under contract in the KHL through 2024-25. He’s widely regarded as a high-upside prospect with tantalizing physical tools, and in a draft thinner on defenseman compared to forwards, Simashev could be a fast-rising prospect.
- Hockey Canada, the CHL, and the IIHF announced today that the 2025 World Junior Championships will be played in Ottawa, Ontario. The Senators’ home arena, Canadian Tire Centre, will serve as the event’s primary location with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s’ TD Place as the secondary venue. Canada has won three of the last four WJC events and will hope to take home the gold medal on their home turf just as they’ve done the past two events.