One of Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman’s biggest offseason tasks was to sign forward Dominik Kubalik to an extension. He can now check that off his list as Kubalik is officially inked for the next two seasons. Per the team, his new contract is worth a total of $7.4 million, with a $3.7 million salary-cap hit for each of the next two seasons.
Kubalik Took Chicago By Storm…Eventually
Kubalik was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the seventh round (191st overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. After a handful of successful seasons in both his native Czech Republic and Switzerland, he was ready to make the jump to the NHL but could not come to terms with the Kings.
In January of 2019, the Kings traded Kubalik to the Blackhawks for a fifth-round pick. He made the team out of training camp and scored his first NHL goal against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 10, 2019.
After bouncing up and down the lineup, head coach Jeremy Colliton finally settled him on a line with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad. This is when his season took off as he eventually finished with 30 goals and 46 points. He led all rookies in goals and finished third in Calder Trophy voting in the race for the rookie of the year.
A Good Fit in Chicago
Kubalik was just the fourth rookie in Blackhawks franchise history to score 30 goals in his first NHL season. Playing with two big forwards like Toews and Saad was a great fit for him. While the two veterans crashed the net, space was created for Kubalik to show off his deadly shot.
He became a sensation on the national stage during the Blackhawks’ Qualifying Round opener against the Edmonton Oilers. He scored two goals and added three assists in his first taste of postseason action. He only scored two goals and three points in the following eight playoff games, but his debut was one to remember.
If Kubalik can continue to score 25-30 goals in the next two seasons, this contract will turn out to be quite the bargain. The key to the deal is the length as he will still be a restricted free agent when the extension is up. Had he signed anything longer than two years, he would have jumped right into unrestricted free agency.
This allows the Blackhawks to get two more seasons to see if 2019-20 was a fluke or not while hopefully cleaning up some of their salary cap situation in time to sign Kubalik to a long-term deal, should he warrant one.
The team has a decent core of young players like Adam Boqvist, Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach to hopefully get them back into serious contention sooner rather than later. At just 25, Kubalik could be a part of his group for years to come.