With the Chicago Blackhawks expected to make many moves, one available player is Dominik Kubalik. If somebody said this just two years ago, most fans wouldn’t have believed it. However, the team is willing to make big changes to its roster. He has been struggling a lot this season, too, as he has just nine goals and 16 points in 42 games. This kind of production is far too low for his standards, and the truth becomes apparent when looking at his first two seasons in the league. In his first 124 career games, he had 47 goals, 37 assists, and 84 points. Needless to say, he has cooled off noticeably this campaign, and that could enhance his chances of being dealt.
However, even with Kubalik having a down season, it’s very likely that the Blackhawks will still have many suitors regarding him. He is a prime bounce-back candidate moving forward, as he is still young and shouldn’t be regressing this early in his NHL career. Perhaps a trade could help him find his old groove. These four specific teams seem like true potential landing spots for the sniper.
Kubalik certainly could grab the attention of the Edmonton Oilers. Although they would benefit from adding a goalie and third-line center, they also would be wise to improve at left wing. When the 26-year-old plays at his best, he does offer the potential to do just that. Keep in mind, he did score 30 goals during his rookie season just two years ago. When seeing as how the Oilers have superstars like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on their roster, this could help him find his old scoring touch.
Although Kubalik has struggled this season, he would have a shot at making Edmonton’s top six. This also could help the Oilers solve their third-line center issue, as it would allow Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to move back to the middle. However, Edmonton would of course be banking on the Czech winger rebounding from here. It could be a gamble worth taking, as he was still very productive just last season, too.
Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings selected Kubalik with the 191st overall pick of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Seventh-round picks rarely turn out to be as good as him, so they had themselves a real steal. However, during the 2018-19 season, they decided to trade his NHL rights to the Blackhawks for a fifth-round pick. This is a move they must regret now, but they should consider making up for it now in 2022 by bringing him back.
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Unlike the Blackhawks, the Kings are currently in the playoff hunt. At this point of the campaign, they have a 21-16-6 record and are third in the Pacific Division. They are starting to move out of their rebuilding stage. When looking at their current forward group, Kubalik surely could fit as their second-line left winger. It’s an area where they could use an upgrade, so this could be an avenue they explore.
New York Rangers
Since Sammy Blais was ruled out for the rest of the season, the Rangers have been looking to acquire a middle-six winger. Kubalik surely fits that description and arguably can be a legitimate top-six winger when he plays at his best. Although they are specifically in need of a right winger, he is a very versatile player who is capable of playing both sides. Thus, there could be a potential match there between both parties.
There will plenty of other options for the Rangers on the trade market, but Kubalik could be a solid target for them. They seem ready to make some trades, as they look like a team who could go on a run this season. They currently possess a 28-11-4 record and are at the top of the competitive Metropolitan Division. Adding some firepower to their forward group is a true necessity, so the Czech winger should be on their radar. This is especially the case if he starts producing at his previous pace.
The Washington Capitals need a move right now. Although they have a 23-11-9 record, they have won just three out of their last 10 games. With that, they also have fallen to fourth place in the Metropolitan Division. They have the talent to get back on track, but if this trend continues, it could be another short playoff run for them. Furthermore, they are another team that could use a little help on both wings. Naturally, Kubalik would provide them with that.
The Capitals seem like another team who could assist Kubalik in getting out of his season-long funk. Assuming he’s in their top six, he would have the chance to play with either Nicklas Backstrom or Evgeny Kuznetsov. They are two very talented centers that are known for their outstanding passing ability. Sometimes a change of scenery can be enough to spark a player, but having a strong cast of players helps with that even more.
It will be interesting to see if Kubalik gets moved by the deadline. Whether he goes to one of these teams or elsewhere, it seems very possible. The Blackhawks are expected to be one of the most active sellers this season, and Kubalik hasn’t been deemed as one of their untouchables. Wherever he finishes the season, his primary objective will be to simply rebound from here.