Blackhawks re-sign Adam Gaudette, give qualifying offers to 3 others
Nikita Zadorov, Brandon Hagel and Alex Nylander received qualifying offers, keeping them restricted free agents, while Pius Suter, David Kampf and Josh Dickinson did not.
The Blackhawks’ jumble of contract decisions this offseason cleared up slightly Monday.
Forward Adam Gaudette became the first returning Hawks player on an expiring contract to re-sign, inking a one-year deal with a salary-cap hit of just less than $1 million. Gaudette, 24, now factors into the Hawks’ 2021-22 depth chart after he survived being exposed to the Kraken in the expansion draft.
The Hawks also gave qualifying offers to forwards Brandon Hagel and Alex Nylander and defenseman Nikita Zadorov before a deadline Monday afternoon, keeping all three of them restricted free agents.
Conversely, forwards Pius Suter, David Kampf and Josh Dickinson didn’t get qualifying offers and will become unrestricted free agents if they aren’t re-signed by Wednesday morning.
But the qualifying-offer decisions, some of which are confusing on the surface, might not foreshadow the Hawks’ plans.
Zadorov, for example, remains a likely trade chip, even with his RFA rights retained. The Hawks might not be willing to pay his reported $5 million asking price and also keep Calvin de Haan’s $4.55 million cap hit after just acquiring Seth Jones.
Kampf, on the other hand, well might re-sign with the Hawks despite not being given a qualifying offer — a move primarily designed to take away his arbitration rights. The Hawks didn’t give him a qualifying offer before re-signing him in 2019, either.
Hagel and Nylander definitely will be re-signed. Neither player holds arbitration rights, so the Hawks should be able to keep both at affordable cap hits. Dickinson was a minor-leaguer who didn’t factor into the team’s plans.
Suter not receiving a qualifying offer was surprising. His agent tweeted that negotiations with the Hawks ‘‘didn’t lead anywhere yet’’ and that it looked as though Suter would become a UFA.
Playing alongside Patrick Kane for much of the season probably inflated Suter’s rookie point total (27 points in 55 games), scaring the Hawks about the money an arbitrator might award him. But general manager Stan Bowman frequently has praised Suter and mentioned him when discussing the Hawks’ youth movement, so parting ways with him already seems odd.