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"Chicago Is Starting To Make Noises Like They'd Like To Move Things Along A Bit Here"--Elliotte Friedman On Guentzel To The Blackhawks

"I don't think it's impossible that Chicago is considering this (a move for Guentzel)''--Elliotte Friedman

Friedman said that Guentzel's negotiating rights could be had for a mid-round pick. Of which the blackhawks have many

I think if you've read/followed my Blackhawks takes this year you know that I have been banging the table to get Bedard genuine help. I've long said Stamkos because he likely wouldn't require a contract beyond 3, maybe 4 years max. Guentzel, obviously would require the max term most likely. I'd be happy with either, but would probably prefer Guentzel. I never really even considered him as a possibility to be honest. If he's open to coming here I think the Blackhawks should make it happen. People in my mentions are always pushing back on the idea of adding veteran help. This guy being the most recent one

Others have said that I want to "blow up the rebuild" by adding pieces. I actually think it is the opposite. The Blackhawks #1 priority needs to be getting the absolute most out of Connor Bedard. He is not a finished product by any stretch of the imagination. I appreciate Nick Foligno and I like Kurashev. I don't think they're good enough to play on a line with Connor Bedard. Bedard was an offensive force last year and the Blackhawks still finished dead last in scoring. I would like him to take the next step. Part of that is putting smart, veteran, winning players around him. Guentzel has played his entire career with Crosby. His biggest asset, in my opinion, is simply knowing how to play. He knows where the goals are. He gets to good areas. He finds dead space. He creates space. He's a great winger for a player like Bedard. 

I hear what this guy is saying when it comes to age. Turning 30 this year isn't ideal, but that's what most UFAs are. UFAs as good as Guentzel don't typically even hit the market. If you have an opportunity to add a piece to the puzzle you should do it. If it costs you that Ottawa 3rd round pick, then so be it (would prefer the 2026 Rangers 4th though). 

From a cost perspective…I genuinely don't think it is that big of a deal. The Blackhawks had the lowest payroll in the league last year and they've trimmed off Tyler Johnson and Nikita Zaitsev. If Guentzel requires a $9M AAV that's still less than what they paid those two guys combined. 

And yes, the Blackhawks have to be somewhat cautious and forward thinking about big deals with term because they will be able to re-sign Bedard after next season and Nazar and Korchinski will also be needing extensions and raises at the same time. I think we all have some salary cap PTSD from the Bowman era. This is a different ball game though. I would be (pleasantly) STUNNED if Korchinski and Nazar earned RFA deals worth north of $6M AAV. By the time those three need extensions the Blackhawks will see Anthanasiou ($4.25M), Foligno ($4.5M), Dickinson ($4.25M), Ryan Donato ($2M), Taylor Hall ($6M), Connor Murphy ($4.4M), Mrazek ($4.25M) and the dead cap hits of McCabe and Josh Bailey (combined $3.16M) all coming off the books. Some quick iphone calculator app math says that is a combined $32.81M. The cap is also projected to go up. The Blackhawks aren't poor. Obviously they will need to replace those players to fill out a complete lineup, but hopefully some of those are rookie contracts for guys like Moore, Rinzel, Greene, whoever they draft in the first round this and next year, etc.

I would NEVER want to do anything that disrupts the rebuild. The goal is a Stanley Cup. At some point losing begets more losing. You can't have a team with just rookies. Last year they signed a bunch of veterans for the sake of having veterans. Now it's time to sign veterans who can actually play, help build a culture, nurture young talent, and help the team be genuinely competitive on a nightly basis. Guentzel checks all of those boxes. He's also a really good skater as I have said before, but it's not his #1 asset. If all goes to plan and the guys the Blackhawks have drafted are good enough to assume those top 6 roles in 2-3 years then Guentzel is smart enough and responsible enough to move down your lineup. 

I don't think adding Guentzel is a sign of impatience, I don't think it's about emotion, I don't think it's a shortcut, I don't think it's reckless. I think it's the next logical step in the rebuilding of this hockey team. I'd like to strengthen the team enough so that the development happens properly. I would love the team to be strong enough at the NHL level so that young guys like Nazar have the option of learning in Rockford or if they make the team can be given more of a sheltered role as they get their feet wet. There's nothing wrong with playing young guys in the AHL. That's what it is there for. I really hope the Patrick Kane rumors come true. I'd also like to sign Chris Tanev. That would allow your team to grow and your prospects to develop responsibly. I am not an expert. Reasonable people can disagree. I just think there are some out there who get sticker shock, especially about term, and I think it's pretty clear based on the way the roster is constructed now that those fears are largely unfounded. Signing affords the organization the ability to be patient with the rebuild and prospect development instead of rushing guys to the show. It also helps/protects Bedard in case Nazar/Moore/2024 1st round pick end up being closer to a Reichel than true top 6 forwards. It's time to grow. It's time to build. This would be a logical step in the right direction. 

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