With the Chicago Blackhawks at the bottom of the Western Conference standings and a new general manager talking about rebuilding and a “three or five year” process it seems like a given that they are going to be sellers at the trade deadline. The question is simply how much are they willing to sell. Starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is the most impactful name on the roster, while Brandon Hagel might bring them back the biggest return outside of dealing one of their big-three (Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Alex DeBrincat). But Dominik Kubalik might be the most likely player to get traded over the next week-and-a-half.
Kubalik burst onto the scene in Chicago as a rookie during the 2019-20 season with 30 goals in only 68 games, resulting in a third-place finish in the Calder Trophy voting behind defensemen Cale Makar (Colorado Avalanche) and Quinn Hughes (Vancouver Canucks). For as promising as that season was, there were some things to have pause over when it came to projecting his long-term value. For starters, he was already 24 years old, which is typically around the time scorers hit their peak. He also had a 19.7 percent shooting percentage for the season, which is unsustainably high long term.
Over the next two years his production has steadily dropped across the board, to the point where he has 11 goals and 21 points in 59 games this season (a 15-goal, 29-point pace over 82 games).
Instead of being a top-line winger, he is probably more of a middle-six option. That still has some value.
What the return might look like
Probably not all that significant. Not only is Kubalik having a down year and regressing for a second straight year offensively, but he is also a restricted free agent after this season and is going to require a qualifying offer of around $4 million. Is it a guarantee somebody wants to commit to that right now?