Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman dipped his to into the market yesterday on the opening of the NHL’s free agent period, inking veteran goaltender Cam Ward and free agent forward Chris Kunitz each to a one year contract and free agent defenseman Brandon Manning to a two year contract.
OFFICIAL: Forward Chris Kunitz and goaltender Cam Ward have signed 1-year contracts and defenseman Brandon Manning has inked a 2-year deal with the Blackhawks.
However, the biggest offseason changes in Chicago may still be to come, according to Blackhawks insider Scott Powers. In his latest column for The Athletic, Powers reports that the team has requested forward Artem Anisimov’s 10 team trade list and could look to deal the Russian sniper in short order.
What could the Blackhawks trade is the next question. Artem Anisimov submitted his 10-team list on Sunday, so they may explore that.
Powers also reports that the Blackhawks will continue to shop Marian Hossa’s contract to a team with the requisite cap space:
Marian Hossa’s contract is also something the Blackhawks will continue to try to trade before the season. Teams will have a better handle on their cap space in the coming weeks, and the Blackhawks might be able to find a trade partner who needs to get to the cap floor of $58.8 million.
For what it’s worth, Lyle Richardson of Spector’s Hockey has linked the Blackhawks to Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk and reports that, “if the Hurricanes are on Anisimov’s list of destinations, maybe there’s a deal there to be made.”
The 26 year old Faulk certainly seems like the perfect fit for the Blackhawks on paper, but his nearly $5 million annual contract could make him a difficult fit for the team under the salary cap. The slick skating, puck moving native of St. Paul, Minnesota scored eight goals and 31 points in 76 games with the Hurricanes last season, but his career high of 15 goals and 49 points from the 2014-15 season indicates that he has more offense to give.
It remains to be seen what happens the rest of this offseason with the Blackhawks, but one thing's for sure: this team will look VERY different when they take the ice in October.