Blackhawks walk away from Dylan Strome, Dominik Kubalik, Henrik Borgstrom, Brett Connolly
Strome and Kubalik did not receive qualifying offers, as expected; Caleb Jones and Philipp Kurashev were the only Hawks who did. Borgstrom and Connolly were put on waivers for buyout purposes.
The Blackhawks’ player exodus continued Monday.
Forwards Dylan Strome and Dominik Kubalik didn’t receive qualifying offers before the deadline, as had long been expected, making them unrestricted free agents by Wednesday.
It’s a decision that’ll be heavily scrutinized in the years ahead. Both players are younger than 27 and can be impactful scorers when playing well. The Hawks tried to trade them for assets at the deadline and draft, but nothing materialized.
General manager Kyle Davidson’s unwillingness to even consider bringing either of them back, however, is a clear sign that tanking is the No. 1 goal for the upcoming season.
Of all the Hawks’ potential restricted free agents, only forward Philipp Kurashev and defenseman Caleb Jones received qualifying offers. Both likely will be re-signed in the coming months.
AHL forwards Andrei Altybarmakyan and Cam Morrison, defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk and goalie Cale Morris were not given qualifying offers.
The Hawks also began buyouts for forwards Henrik Borgstrom and Brett Connolly.
Those moves continue Davidson’s rapid shift away from ex-GM Stan Bowman’s reclamation projects and signal a waving of the white flag on Bowman’s ill-advised trade with the Panthers in 2021 that acquired Borgstrom and Riley Stillman for Lucas Carlsson, Lucas Wallmark and Connolly’s contract.
Borgstrom, the centerpiece, never did much of anything with the Hawks, tallying only seven points in 52 games. The Hawks could’ve buried his contract in the AHL to eliminate the cap hit but instead wanted him gone altogether.
Borgstrom’s buyout will inflict an $83,000 cap hit in 2022-23 and $183,000 cap hit in 2023-24 on the Hawks. Connolly’s buyout will give the Hawks a $1.17 million cap hit in each of the two seasons.