Friday was Slovakia-native Marian Hossa’s day with the Stanley Cup. It was the third party of Hossa’s that Phil Pritchard RSVP’d yes to.
Hossa celebrated with fellow countrymen Marian Gaborik and Zdeno Chara, as well as future teammate Marko Dano and former Blackhawks forward Tomas Kopecky.
Maybe it was seeing the Chicago sigil everywhere or maybe it was remembering the two times he lifted the chalice over his own head in celebration, but the party had Kopecky feeling nostalgic.
ESPN Chicago’s Scott Powers reports that Kopecky said, “Joel Quenneville was the best coach he’s ever played for & he’d be interested in returning to the Blackhawks.”
The free agent market is full of veteran talent signing contracts at a discount. Many veterans aren’t far from starting to take professional tryout (PTO) contracts. (Sergei Gonchar has already taken a PTO.)
Kopecky is one such veteran who can likely be had a discount and may even take a PTO. He’s coming off a four-year deal with the Florida Panthers at an AAV of $3 million.
Last season the 33-year-old forward grabbed just two goals and six assists through 64 games. That’s a significant step down from the season before when he played 15 fewer games, scoring four goals and eight assists.
Last year’s scoring rate represents the first time since his rookie season that he’s had an even strength P/60 under 1.0 and it was a rough 0.6. His minutes dropped, but that should be expected with the kind of productionhe displayed and a -3.6% score-adjusted CF%Rel.
Despite being an impact player not that long ago, Kopecky may have a tough time finding a job with those numbers and a couple of injuries in his recent history.
Further working against his stated desire? Chicago has less than $300,000 in cap space remaining and still needs to re-sign restricted free agent Marcus Kruger who will cost much more than $300,000. While this cap situation means that Chicago may have to ship another player out and bring someone in for less money, it’s likely that the interest between Kopecky and Chicago only runs in one direction.