Blackhawks qualify RFAs Perlini and Quenneville, part ways with 4 minor-leaguers

The Hawks cleaned out their AHL roster to make room for incoming prospects.

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Forward Brendan Perlini will remain a restricted free agent after receiving a qualifying offer from the Hawks.

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Of the 11 restricted free agents the Blackhawks had to deal with coming out of draft weekend, only a few will remain with the organization.

The NHL deadline to file qualifying offers to RFAs was 4 p.m. Tuesday, and although the Hawks were one of a few teams to not publicly disclose their QO list, the status of most of the team’s applicable players has been determined.

Brendan Perlini — the team’s highest-profile RFA — was qualified and the Hawks are in negotiations to re-sign him soon, his agent told the Sun-Times. 

Perlini may never live up to the expectations of a No. 12 overall pick, but he was a decent bottom-six forward after being acquired midseason from the Coyotes and remains on the young end of 23. He’ll likely fetch a salary somewhere around $2 million.

The team also issued qualifying offers to newly added John Quenneville and borderline NHL-AHLer Dylan Sikura, per Scott Powers of The Athletic. David Kampf did not receive a QO but is still negotiating with the team, also per Powers. Former prospect Victor Ejdsell signed a two-year contract with a Swedish team in May but the Hawks will retain his North American rights.

The two most interesting QO decisions entering the week — defenseman Gustav Forsling and goaltender Anton Forsberg — were removed from the equation a day early, as they were sent to the Hurricanes in the Calvin de Haan trade. The Hurricanes qualified both.

Minor-leaguers Anthony Louis, Blake Hillman, Spencer Watson and Luke Johnson were not qualified, per Powers and Capfriendly, and will become unrestricted free agents.

Louis had been fairly productive in two seasons with Rockford but not enough to justify an NHL look, given his 5-foot-7 size. Hillman actually appeared in four late-season games for the Hawks in 2017-18, but struggled in Rockford in 2018-19.

Watson, acquired from the Kings organization in February, is primarily an ECHL player. Johnson appeared in 15 games for the Hawks last season and scored 31 points in 53 AHL games.

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