The Blackhawks’ summer checklist finally is complete.
Restricted free-agent forward Brendan Perlini, the Hawks’ last remaining free agent for more than a month, signed a one-year contract Friday with a modest cap hit of $874,125, the team announced.
The NHL is still stuck in a massive RFA blockade, with a number of rising stars — the Maple Leafs’ Mitch Marner, the Avalanche’s Mikko Rantanen and the Lightning’s Brayden Point the headliners — holding up the market.
Many will continue their holdouts into training camp, which starts late next week for most teams (the Hawks begin Friday), but Perlini won’t be among them.
The 23-year-old winger, acquired in the Dylan Strome deal in November, has scored between 14 and 17 goals in each of his three NHL seasons. He’s a sniper — by bottom-six standards — who also grades well analytically in terms of defensive-zone exits and offensive-zone entries, though he struggles in the passing and playmaking departments.
Perlini struggled at the start of 2018-19, tallying just six points in 22 games with the Coyotes, which prompted the trade. He improved after arriving in Chicago, totaling 15 points in 46 games.
“He’s a streaky goal scorer,” general manager Stan Bowman said at the draft in June. “He still ended up with 14 goals even though he didn’t get going right away with us. There’s a lot of guys they’ll never get 14 in the whole year, so he’s got that unique ability to put the puck in the net. I think there’s a lot more there.”
The signing should mark the end of the Hawks’ offseason personnel activity, barring any surprises in the next few weeks. Bowman doesn’t have a lot of cap space to work with. He had to deal away Artem Anisimov in late July partially to free the space just to re-sign Perlini.
Perlini will battle a large assembly of summer additions — Andrew Shaw, Zack Smith, Ryan Carpenter, Alex Nylander, Dominik Kubalik, Anton Wedin, John Quenneville, even Kirby Dach — for a roster spot and playing time in the crowded forward corps.