Blackhawks Have 3 Good Left-Wing Targets for the 2022 Offseason

The Chicago Blackhawks should be in for a very eventful offseason. General manager (GM) Kyle Davidson has started the rebuild, and it seems likely that more moves are on the way. One area where we could see some changes made this summer is on the left-wing. Among this year’s crop of free agents at the position, there are some intriguing names that the Blackhawks should consider signing. Yet, there are three players who stand out. Here’s a look.

Marcus Johansson

Marcus Johansson is an interesting veteran for the Blackhawks to consider. Although his primary position is left-wing, he also has a ton of experience playing both center and right-wing, so he could fit virtually anywhere in the Blackhawks’ lineup due to his immense versatility, which always comes in handy as injuries inevitably arise.

Marcus Johansson Seattle Kraken
Marcus Johansson, Seattle Kraken (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

At this point in his career, Johansson is a third-line forward who can provide solid secondary scoring. In 69 games this season (between the Seattle Kraken and Washington Capitals), the 31-year-old scored nine goals and 20 assists. However, with the Blackhawks, it’s possible he would see a spike in production since it’s fair to say that he could compete for a role in their top six. This is especially true if they end up trading Dominik Kubalik or even Alex DeBrincat during the summer.

Although the Blackhawks are rebuilding, adding a player with as much experience as Johansson would be very beneficial. The club’s younger players and prospects could learn a lot from playing with him, as he has played 753 career games. With that, if he signs a one-year deal and thrives in Chicago, he could get the team a decent return at the trade deadline. That’s always a nice bonus for a team that is selling.

Andrei Kuzmenko

Free-agent Andrei Kuzmenko needs to be on the Blackhawks’ radar this summer. The 26-year-old is coming off of a career season with SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). In 45 games, he scored 20 goals and 33 assists, and there is reason to believe that he could work well as a top-six forward at the NHL level.

Related: Blackhawks Have 3 Good Center Targets for the Offseason

Signing with a team like the Blackhawks could interest Kuzmenko, too, because he would have the chance to play with a superstar like Patrick Kane. Kuzmenko is an offensively-driven winger, and with Kane, they could be a match made in Heaven. Furthermore, with the Blackhawks’ left-wing depth not being the strongest, he would be a lock to play top-six minutes.

Although the Blackhawks should pursue Kuzmenko, interest around the league is expected to be very high. According to Chris Johnston, there will be at least 20 teams that will be reaching out to the Russian forward. That will make signing him a challenging task, but if the Blackhawks can land him, it would be a massive win for the franchise.

Nicolas Deslauriers

One final left-winger the Blackhawks should consider signing is Nicolas Deslauriers. He is another forward with experience playing on a rebuilding team, as he just spent three seasons with the Anaheim Ducks. Thus, as with Johansson, he could be a solid mentor to the club’s younger players, which shouldn’t be overlooked.

Nicolas Deslauriers Minnesota Wild
Nicolas Deslauriers, Minnesota Wild (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

If signed, Deslauriers would provide the Blackhawks with a plethora of toughness and overall physicality. In 81 games this campaign between the Ducks and Minnesota Wild, he had a whopping 113 penalty minutes and a career-high 263 hits. Offensively, he isn’t particularly dominant, with eight goals and five assists. However, there’s no question that he would be a great addition to the team’s bottom six.

With the Blackhawks rebuilding, many of their prospects and young players will be given more opportunities. Due to this, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to bring in an enforcer to help protect them. Furthermore, even if Chicago isn’t pushing for a deep playoff run right now, they still need to be tough to compete against. Deslauriers would be a big help in this area.

In the end, hopefully, one – if not more – of these three will end up a Blackhawk before the start of the 2022-23 season. They would each provide the team with much-needed elements that would assist with the rebuild. Of the trio, Kuzmenko would, of course, be the biggest splash, but Johansson or Deslauriers wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize.

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