We’re on the cusp of one of the most exciting weeks of the hockey offseason with the 2020 NHL Draft and free agency period looming. Today in Chicago Blackhawks’ news and rumors, we explore how these events might play out for the team, as well as talk ticket plans and some exciting player news. Let’s get to it!
Blackhawks’ Season Ticket Plans
The Blackhawks announced their Full Season Ticket Plans on Thursday. Starting Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 10:00 a.m., many new fans will be able to secure tickets. Not surprisingly, numerous wait-list fans have chosen to defer their priority status due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As Chris Werner, Blackhawks’ Vice President of Ticketing stated, “…this is an exciting and unique chance for us to be able to offer fan-friendly and flexible options on all arena levels to new members of our fan base who may not have had this opportunity for nearly a decade.”
The Blackhawks further stated if this coming season is played at a reduced capacity or without fans at all, ticket holders will still have the option to roll their ticket purchases to the 2021-22 season, or receive a refund. This certainly might be worth checking into.
Although the NHL was hopeful for a Dec. 1 start to the 2020-21 season, it appears there’s now talk of pushing it to Jan. 1. This is one of many question marks surrounding this coming season. But if there are seats to fill the Blackhawks are doing their best to make it happen, and broaden the fanbase while they’re at it.
The Draft, Buyouts & Free Agency
As we know, the NHL Draft is set for this coming Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 6 & 7. Here’s a list of all the Blackhawks’ picks. Obviously, the No. 17 selection in the first round is what has everyone’s attention. But unfortunately, this is a mid-round pick and likely won’t get the Blackhawks one of the big names in this year’s draft class.
Many are clamoring for the organization to make a run at Russian goalie Yaroslav Askarov, but he will likely be long gone by No. 17. The Blackhawks would have to trade up into the top 10, which would cost them a prospect. According to a piece by Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus of The Athletic, this isn’t the direction they are looking to go.
Assuming the Blackhawks stay with the 17th pick, they aim to see how the first 16 selections unfold and then draft the player who offers the best overall value to the team. General manager Stan Bowman asserted as much in a recent meeting with the media.
When you’re picking in the first round, my approach has always been you’ve got to take the player that you value the most, and the best asset at that point. Even if it’s a position you have a lot of. I don’t think you should be drafting for positional needs when you’re drafting in the first round…because when you do that, if you’re able to come out of the first pick with a high-value player, you can use him or you can move him to get additional pieces.(from, ‘What we’re hearing about the Blackhawks as the draft, free agency approach’, The AthleticChi – 9/30/20)
Meanwhile, the buyout window for the league closes on Thursday, Oct. 8. Defenseman Olli Maatta and forward Zack Smith remain the top candidates here for the Blackhawks to be bought out. Will we see some trades before that time to help determine how this all pans out?
The free agency period further starts this Friday, Oct. 9. Blackhawks’ fans are anxiously awaiting which of free agents Corey Crawford, Dominik Kubalik, Dylan Strome, Drake Caggiula, Slater Koekkoek and Malcolm Subban will get re-signed.
The Blackhawks haven’t made any major moves or signings yet, but the activity in the next week or so will be very important in determining the shape of the team moving forward.
Strome & Keith Latest News
Moving on to player news, defenseman Duncan Keith is giving away one of his old hockey sticks. I think he might just be doing this so he can enjoy some swordsmanship on his dock.
But seriously, that will certainly be quite the prize for someone!
While giving away one’s hockey stick is a noble gesture, it certainly isn’t anywhere near as monumental or life changing as having a baby. That’s right, young center Dylan Strome and his girlfriend Tayler McMahon announced on Thursday they are expecting a baby girl!
How exciting for the happy couple! As referenced above, Strome is a free agent and might not get re-signed with the Blackhawks. We shall see if the new family will be remaining in Chicago, or planting roots elsewhere.
It’s like Christmastime in the hockey world, with lots of exciting moves and changes on the horizon. Stay tuned, we’ll keep you updated with all the latest here at The Hockey Writers.