With the Stanley Cup Final wrapped up, preparations for the 2021-22 National Hockey League season are officially underway including the NHL Entry Draft starting on July 23rd!
As we roll into the heart of the offseason, here are some key NHL dates to keep an eye on:
Saturday, July 17: Deadline for NHL teams to submit their lists of protected players for the 2021 Expansion Draft. Lists must be in by is 4 p.m. ET.
Wednesday, July 21: The Expansion Draft begins at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. Who will the Seattle Kraken take?
Thursday, July 22: The moratorium on trade and waiver freeze and signing is lifted at 12 p.m. ET
Friday, July 23: The first round of the
2021 NHL Entry Draft and the following rounds take place the next day. Who will the Blackhawks pick with their 11th overall selection?
Monday, July 26: Final day to submit qualifying offers to restricted free agents. Per CapFriendly, the Blackhawks have six RFAs including former IceHogs Brandon Hagel and David Kampf. Their full list includes: forwards Pius Suter, Hagel, Adam Gaudette, Kampf and Alex Nylander and defenseman Nikita Zadorov.
Wednesday, July 28: NHL Free Agency starts with the opening of the signing period at 11 a.m. ET
Focusing on the Draft, back in June, the Chicago Blackhawks locked in the 11th overall selection during the Draft Lottery. What areas of the ice should they focus on? What style of player has the best fit? Here is a look at eight potential options for the Blackhawks:
Mason McTavish (C)
McTavish is considered to be one of the more NHL-ready prospects in this season's draft. While on loan with EHC Olten in Switzerland last season, the 6-foot-1, 207-pound center picked up 11 points (9G, 2A) in 13 games and tacked on two goals and five assists for seven points in four playoff games. The Zurich, Switzerland, native also netted 11 points (5G, 6A) in seven games for Team Canada during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship and is ranked No. 2 on the NHL's Central Scouting list among North American skaters.
Fabian Lysell (RW)
Lysell is a dynamic winger with tremendous skating ability. The Goteborg, Sweden, product scored three points (1G, 2A) in 26 games last season with Lulea HF of the SHL, and 13 points (3G, 10A) in 11 contests with their Under-20 team. He led Sweden with nine points (3G, 6A) in seven games at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship and is ranked No. 9 on the NHL's Central Scouting list among International skaters.
Simon Edvinsson (D)
Standing at 6-foot-5 and 207 pounds, defenseman Simon Edvinsson's physicality and defensive-zone instincts make him a premier selection this summer. The Onsala, Sweden, native split time between Forlunda HC of the SHL last season and Vasteras IK, totaling six assists in 24 combined contests and racked up a goal and two assists in six playoff games with Vasteras. He is ranked #2 by NHL Central Scouting among European skaters and on TSN Bob McKenzie's midseason rankings.
Cole Sillinger (C)
Just up the road from Rockford in South Dakota, forward Cole Sillinger led the Sioux Falls Stampede with 46 points (24G, 22A) in a mere 31 games behind an impressive wrist shot and stickhandling ability. The Columbus, Ohio, native is currently ranked #10 by NHL Central Scouting for North American skaters.
Zach Dean (C)
With incredible skating and passing ability, the Grande Prairie, Alberta, product has the maneuverability to make plays within moments. Playing in 23 games with the Gatineau Olympiques in the QMJHL last season, Dean floated in 20 points (10G, 10A) and tacked on a goal and an assist in four postseason contests. He occupies the #21 spot by NHL Central Scouting (North American skaters).
Chaz Lucius (C)
With a knack for finding the back of the net, Lucius could be a great option for the Blackhawks. After unfortunately missing most of the 2020-21 season due to injury, the Grant, Minnesota, native was still able to find 20 points (13G, 7A) in 13 games with the U.S. National U18 team and add 18 points (13G, 5A) in 12 games with the U.S. National Team Development Program in the USHL. He stands #12 by NHL Central Scouting (North American skaters).
Luke Hughes (D)
Teammates with Lucius with the USNTDP (USHL), Hughes picked up 15 points (11A) from the blueline through 18 games and 34 points (28A) in 38 games with the U.S. National U18 Team. Luke looks to join his brothers Quinn (Vancouver) and Jack (New Jersey) in the NHL and has committed to the University of Michigan. He is #4 by NHL Central Scouting (North American skaters).
Carson Lambos (D)
A dependable all-around defensive talent, Lambos registered 32 points (8G, 24A) in 57 games during his rookie season with the Winnipeg Ice of the WHL in 2019-20 and only skated in two WHL games last year before suffering an injury. After recovering, the Winnipeg, Manitoba, native was loaned to JYP in Finland's junior league and added 11 points (2G, 9As) in 13 games. Lambos is ranked #11 on the NHL's Central Scouting list among North American skaters.