Hawks appear likely to move on from a former 30-goal scorer

Published February 15, 2022 at 8:02 PM

The Chicago Blackhawks may not be going the route of a complete fire sale, but that doesn't necessarily mean the team won't look very different when the puck drops to kick off the 2022-23 season.

The Hawks have a long list of proverbial carrots that they can dangle in front of contenders in order to build up their stable of picks, prospects and young players, but perhaps none more intriguing than 26-year-old Dominik Kubalik.

The Czech winger has had a bit of a down season, there is no denying that. But then, haven't the Blackhawks as a whole? Just a few short seasons ago, Kubalik was a 30-goal scorer. He followed that up by a season where he was on a 25-goal pace. His third campaign, however, has been somewhat disappointing - and he recognizes that.

During an interview with The Athletic's Mark Lazarus, Kubalik revealed that he's trying his best not to think about his first 48 games, but rather the last 34.

"It's been frustrating," he said. "But we've still got (34) games in front of us. What's happened in the past is the past. I'm just focusing on right now."

On whether or not his mind is on the trade deadline, Kubalik said he is not too focused on it - mostly due to the fact that it's out of his control.

"It's still kind of far away. The games are going so fast, so you don't have time to focus on something else. Most of the time, what I'm focusing on is recovering and being ready. I can't talk for the other guys, but I think they're trying to do the same thing, not focusing on those things you can't really handle yourself."

The lanky winger is in the final year of his current deal and will become a restricted free agent when his contract expires this summer. He does have arbitration rights, but I would imagine that he'll be looking to sign a long-term deal. Kubalik will be 27 years old by the time the 2022-23 season begins. The question is, will his next deal be with Chicago? He hopes so.

"For sure," he said. "Chicago gave me an opportunity to be in the NHL and I love it there. So I'd love to stay."

Regardless of what Kubalik may want, the NHL is very much a business. It appears more likely than not at this point that the Hawks are facing some heavy roster turnover at the deadline and into the summer. Only time will tell if he is one of the casualties.

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