4 Blackhawks Who Likely Won’t Return For 2022-23 Season

After making a number of big trades to bring in players like Marc-Andre Fleury and Seth Jones this past offseason, many believed the Chicago Blackhawks were back to being a playoff team. That optimism soon dwindled after they started the 2021-22 campaign on a nine-game losing streak, which they were never able to recover from.

Related: Blackhawks Top 5 Free Agents to Focus On Re-Signing for 2022-23

Looking ahead to the 2022-23 season for this Blackhawks team, expectations are much lower than they were a year ago. With their struggles this past season, many believe the team is considering entering a complete rebuild, making the futures of many current players on the roster uncertain. With a new general manager in Kyle Davidson being hired in March, there could very well be some drastic moves from this team in the summer. That said, here are four players that will likely have a new home for the 2022-23 campaign.

Jonathan Toews

Some may disagree with Jonathan Toews‘ name being on this list, but there has been some trade chatter surrounding the 34-year-old the past few years. Coming off of the worst season of his career with just 12 goals and 37 points, he has made some comments recently that suggest he is confused as to what exactly this team’s plan is moving forward. That isn’t the first time he has voiced his frustration with the direction of the organization either, as he made it clear he did not want to be a part of a rebuild.

Jonathan Toews Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The one thing that may keep Toews around for the 2022-23 season is that he has just one year remaining on his contract. However, that may also be a reason he is able to be traded, as it is much less of a risk for an acquiring team. Given that he carries a $10.5 million cap hit, the Blackhawks would certainly have to retain some salary, but there would certainly be interest from teams given his winning experience as well as the possibility that he may bounce back from his off-year.

Patrick Kane

Like Toews, some may express skepticism over the Blackhawks moving Patrick Kane. That said, Elliotte Friedman had reported ahead of this year’s trade deadline that teams had expressed interest in the 33-year-old, and went on to add that players of his caliber are more often moved in the offseason. With the Blackhawks seeming to be headed towards a rebuild, trading an aging yet still highly talented forward could help speed up that process in a big way.

After a slow start to the 2021-22 campaign, Kane rebounded in a big way and finished the year with a phenomenal 26 goals and 92 points in just 78 games. One can’t help but wonder just how much better those totals would be on a more dangerous team, and we may just get to find out this coming season. Like Toews, he is in the final year of a contract that carries a $10.5 million cap hit, and he would have plenty of suitors if he does indeed become available.

Calvin de Haan

Since becoming a Blackhawk during the 2019 offseason, there has always seemed to be trade speculation regarding Calvin de Haan. Though the 31-year-old is by no means a flashy player, he is effective defensively and can slide into a team’s top four at times if needed. That said, he took plenty of flack during his time with the Blackhawks, mainly due to the fact he was on a contract that carried a $4.55 million cap hit.

Calvin de Haan, Chicago Blackhawks
Calvin de Haan, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, it seems quite likely the Blackhawks will let him walk. They have younger prospects on the back end that they would prefer to have in the lineup over an aging veteran, meaning de Haan will indeed hit the free-agent market. Despite his reputation taking a hit in recent seasons, however, he should still receive interest from a number of teams.

Erik Gustafsson

Since recording a career-high 60-points as a member of the Blackhawks back in 2018-19, Erik Gustafsson has fallen off in a dramatic way. The 30-year-old has since bounced around between the Calgary Flames, Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens before returning to Chicago this past season on a one-year deal worth $800,000.

Unfortunately, his return to the Blackhawks didn’t go as hoped, though judging from his past few seasons, it was the likely outcome. In 59 games this season, he managed just three goals and 18 points. His defensive play leaves plenty to be desired, and his offense simply hasn’t been there for three straight seasons now. It would be both a major surprise and a mistake for the Blackhawks to bring him back for the 2022-23 campaign.

Other Candidates

The four listed above are not the only ones who may be forced to find new homes for this Blackhawks roster. One name to keep an eye on is Dylan Strome, a player who puts up big numbers when given the opportunity but doesn’t seem to have the full trust of the organization. Another talented offensive player who could be on the move is Dominik Kubalik, who after scoring 30 goals as a rookie in 2019-20 has struggled in each of the past two seasons. Regardless of what happens, there is no doubt that Davidson has his work cut out for him this summer, one which will be pivotal for the future of this franchise.

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