ANALYSIS: Revisiting the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2023 offseason moves


The Chicago Blackhawks’ 2023–24 season ended with the team finishing with a 23–53–6 record, which landed them at the second-worst point total in the NHL, with only the San Jose Sharks having a lower point total. Although disappointing, the Hawks will be looking at to make improvements going into next season. Improvements could be made from outside of the organization, with Chicago looking to add talent through trades and the unrestricted free agent market this offseason. With that in mind, it would be of interest to check in on the Blackhawks’ 2023 offseason transactions and see how those moves have played out.

Arvid Soderblom re-signed to an extension

ANALYSIS: Revisiting the Chicago Blackhawks' 2023 offseason moves

Matthew Tkachuk redirects the puck past Arvid Soderblom for a goal during the Calgary Flames’ 5–1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 2, 2022, in Chicago. (Photo courtesy of the Associated Press)

The first offseason move by Chicago came on May 10, 2023. The Blackhawks signed goaltender Arvid Soderblom to a two-year, $1.925 million contract in an attempt to stabilize the backup goaltender position. One year into the new contract and Soderblom turned out to be perhaps to least effective goalie in the entire NHL this season.

In 32 starts, Soderblom had just five wins to 22 losses with a goals against average of 3.92, placing him 65th out of 65 eligible NHL goaltenders in that stat. With a .879 save percentage, Soderblom only out-saved Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Antti Raanta. Soderblom had a quality start percentage of .345 and a goals saved above average of -22.95. 

Soderblom had an awful season by every standard, and the only saving grace of this contract is that the Blackhawks are still deep into a rebuild, and the deal will expire at the end of the 2024–25 season. Unless the Hawks make a move for another goaltender this offseason, Solderblom will remain as the primary backup goaltender behind Petr Mrazek next season.

Andreas Athanasiou inked a two-year deal

ANALYSIS: Revisiting the Chicago Blackhawks' 2023 offseason moves

Andreas Athanasiou of the Chicago Blackhawks plays soccer with teammates prior to the game against the New York Islanders at UBS Arena on April 2, 2024, in Belmont, New York. (Photo courtesy of Michael Mooney / NHLI via Getty Images)

On June 7, 2023, Chicago brought back another member of the 2022–23 team by re-signing forward Andreas Athanasiou to a two-year deal worth $8.5 million.

Athanasiou’s 2023–24 season was plagued by injury. He was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 9 with a groin injury and would remain there until early March. In limited action, Athanasiou had a stat line of 2–7—9. 

The hope is that Athanasiou returns to full health for the upcoming season. In his first full season with Chicago back in 2022–23, he was able to put up a 40-point campaign with an even 20–20 split. With next year being the last year of his contract, Athanasiou and the Hawks hope to put his injuries behind them and him to get back to form. 

Chicago brings back Joey Anderson

ANALYSIS: Revisiting the Chicago Blackhawks' 2023 offseason moves

Joey Anderson warming up for a Chicago Blackhawks game. (Photo courtesy of Kamil Krzaczynski)

On June 22, 2023, the Hawks re-signed restricted free agent Joey Anderson to a one-year, $800,000 contract. Anderson came to the Blackhawks in the Jake McCabe trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2023 trade deadline.

Anderson began the 2023–24 season in Rockford, but was called back up to Chicago on Nov. 24. Anderson would soon find himself on injured reserve with a left shoulder injury in December, which would sideline him until early January. In a limited role, Anderson put up a stat line of 5–12—17 in 55 games with Chicago.

Anderson has been roster depth for most of his career, and with Chicago looking to bring up prospects and possibly add offensive talent in the 2024 offseason, there is a real chance Anderson will be wearing another sweater next season.

Blackhawks bring in experience and skill for Bedard

ANALYSIS: Revisiting the Chicago Blackhawks' 2023 offseason moves

Nick Foligno celebrates one of his two goals in the Chicago Blackhawks’ 4–3 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators. (Photo courtesy of USA TODAY Network)

Right before the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, Chicago traded defensive depth for a pair of veteran forward from the Boston Bruins. On June 26, 2023, the Hawks traded defensemen Ian Mitchell and Alec Regula to the Bruins for forwards Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno. On the following day, Chicago signed Foligno to a one-year, $4 million contract for the 2023–24 season. 

Mitchell saw very limited time with the Bruins, playing only 13 games with Boston, putting up only two assists. Mitchell spent most of his season with the Providence Bruins, where he had six goals and 18 assists in 42 regular season games.

Regula spent the entire season in Providence, putting up a stat line of 4–22—26 in 55 games. 

Hall was brought in to be a scoring winger alongside Connor Bedard. The former first overall pick and Hart Trophy winner had a season filled with injury, missing six games early in the season due to lower-body and shoulder injuries. After returning from these injuries, he quickly suffered another devasting injury, this time a season-ending torn ACL in November. In only 10 games in his first season with Chicago, Hall only mustered two goals and two assists. Hall was able to return to the ice in a limited capacity late in the season in practices, so there is hope that he will be able to return to the ice for the 2024–25 season. He has one year left on his contract, which will pay him $6 million next season.

Foligno was the real prize of this trade for Chicago. A team leader on and off the ice, Foligno embraced the role of Bedard’s protector and advisor all season. The relationship between Foligno and Bedard was a fantastic sight for Hawks fans all season. The front office seemed to appreciate Foligno’s role with the team, because on Jan. 12, the Hawks re-signed Foligno to a two-year, $9 million contract. In 74 games this season, Foligno had a 17–20—37 stat line, his highest season point total since the 2015–16 season. 

Although the Hall injury was unfortunate, this trade brought immense value to the club. It achieved an assortment of team needs going into the season. It freed up the logjam of borderline NHL-caliber defensive prospects the Hawks were stuck with, it brought in veteran leadership and it provided the team with a duo of productive forwards. If Hall can return from his injury and find form in a contract year, the Blackhawks will be able to boast getting two effective NHL forwards for the price of essentially nothing.

Blackhawks make three trades on the second day of the draft

A day after drafting Bedard and forward Oliver Moore, Chicago got busy on the trade market. The Hawks entered day two with four second-round picks, and found a trade partner for one of them. The Blackhawks traded the 51st pick to the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2023 sixth-round pick and the Los Angeles Kings’ 2024 second-round pick. The Kings’ pick turned into the 54th selection of this year’s draft.

With the 51st pick, the Flyers selected goalie prospect Carson Bjarnason. Bjarnason spent the 2023–24 season in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings, where he started 46 regular season games with a goals against average of 3.01 and a .907 save percentage.

With the sixth-round pick, the Hawks selected center Milton Oscarson. Oscarson played 51 regular season games with the Orebro HK, putting up a stat line of 4–5—9.

The second trade of the day was made with the New York Islanders. Chicago received forward Josh Bailey and a 2026 second-round pick for future considerations. Bailey was immediately bought out of his contract by the Blackhawks. The buyout penalty was $2,666,667 for the 2023–24 season and $1,166,667 for the 2024–25 season.

A pure asset acquisition move, the Blackhawks were willing to take on the dead cap hit of Bailey to obtain draft capital down the road. By 2026, the Hawks should be beginning their competitive window, and that second-round pick could turn into a valuable trade asset at the deadline if needed.

The final trade of the day was the most unfortunate one for the Blackhawks. Chicago traded a 2024 seventh-round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning for forward Corey Perry. 

Another player expected to provide veteran forward presence, Perry had four goals and five assists with Chicago in 16 games. Sadly, due to an embarrassing incident which caused an immense headache for the team, Perry was released on Nov. 28.

An unfortunate situation for a club that already has a poor public perception around the league, the only benefits from this trade were the low cost of getting Perry and the organization’s ability to respond effectively to internal misconduct.

Hawks bring in Donato

ANALYSIS: Revisiting the Chicago Blackhawks' 2023 offseason moves

Taylor Hall and Connor Bedard celebrate with Ryan Donato after Donato’s goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 10, 2023. Bedard assisted on the goal for the first point of his NHL career. (Photo courtesy of Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press)

The offseason of two-year deals continued once free agency began on July 1. On the first day of free agency, Chicago signed forward Ryan Donato to a two-year, $2 million contract.

In a season filled with injuries for Chicago, Donato was one of the few Hawks able to avoid injury. Donato was able to play 78 games for the Hawks, putting up a stat line of 12–18—30. The most notable highlight of Donato’s season was scoring on Bedard’s first career point in the NHL on opening night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. If nothing else, Donato gets to be an interesting trivia question answer.

With one more year left on the deal, Donato has provided what Chicago was hoping for when signing him. Donato is a plug-and-play forward who can play where Luke Richardson asks him to. At 28 years old, Donato could be brought back after his contract expires at the end of the 2024–25 season or become a valuable trade chip at the 2025 deadline.

Chicago signs the golden boy to his entry-level contract

ANALYSIS: Revisiting the Chicago Blackhawks' 2023 offseason moves

Connor Bedard celebrates his goal against the Florida Panthers on Nov. 4, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Matt Marton / USA TODAY Sports)

Shortly after his 18th birthday, Chicago signed Connor Bedard to a three-year entry-level contract on July 17, 2023. In his rookie campaign, Bedard scored 22 goals, put up 39 assists and managed 61 points in his rookie campaign. His numbers are even more impressive when considering he only played 68 games due to missing time because of a fractured jaw he suffered in late January. With these numbers, along with his impressive advanced stats, it is safe to say Bedard will end his rookie season with the Calder Trophy, and the Hawks have a face of the team for years to come.

Philipp Kurashev receives $4.5 million in arbitration

ANALYSIS: Revisiting the Chicago Blackhawks' 2023 offseason moves

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones, right, is congratulated by center Philipp Kurashev after scoring against the San Jose Sharks in overtime of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, California, on Saturday, March 23, 2024. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Philipp Kurashev, a restricted free agent at the time, went through the league’s arbitration process to determine his next contract. On July 23, 2023, arbitration awarded Kurashev with a two-year, $4.5 million contract.

In the first year of his new contract, Kurashev put up his most productive season. Benefitting from sharing a line with Bedard, Kurashev had a career high in games, goals, assists and points. In 75 games, Kurashev had 18 goals, 36 assists and 54 points.

Although he spent a lot of time on the top line, Kurashev looks to be a productive middle-six forward for Chicago once the competitive window opens up.

Samuel Savoie signs his entry-level contract

The last offseason move by the Hawks was its least notable. Samuel Savoie, the 81st pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Hawks on July 25, 2023. 

Sadly, in a preseason game with the Hawks, Savoie suffered a broken femur, which forced him to go under the knife on Oct. 1. After spending time with Chicago to rehab his leg, Savoie returned to the QMJHL in January. With the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, Savoie was able to play 21 games. In those 21 games, Savoie had 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points. Along with his 21 regular season games, Savoie had five points in 10 postseason games.


Last offseason was a mixed bag for Chicago. Once the draft lottery was won, Chicago knew that the main objective was to surround Bedard and the young players with veterans who could provide leadership both on and off the ice. The Blackhawks targeted players like Foligno, Hall and Perry for their experience in the league. Other moves, like the re-signing of players like Soderblom, Athanasiou and Anderson, were meant to stabilize positions for the short term to allow prospects to develop away from the NHL. 

The best move of the offseason was acquiring Foligno. He was essentially the team’s captain in everything but name only, and his ability to mentor Bedard throughout his rookie season brought value that the scoresheet cannot compute, but fans and the organization can see. Foligno very deservingly signed a two-year extension in the season and should continue to be a leader for this team as it transitions from rebuilding to competing.

The Foligno trade was not the only positive move of the previous offseason. The Kurashev re-signing and Donato signing were moves that provided the Hawks with two players who were on the ice for at least 75 games, with both putting up more than 30 points in the season.

The worst move of the offseason was the trade for Perry. Perry was expected to essentially be another Foligno, but instead brought Chicago more trouble than he was worth. 

Other moves, such as the Athanasiou, Soderblom and Hall moves, were highly unfortunate. Athanasiou and Hall combined for only 38 games, while Soderblom was statistically the worst goaltender in the NHL. 

The 2023 Blackhawks offseason showed where Kyle Davidson thought this team was. No contract he handed out, other than the entry-level contracts, were for terms longer than two years. The priority was flexibility, veteran presence and asset management. Nearly a year later, every deal that went “wrong” went wrong in ways outside of front office control. No front office can predict a player controversy like Perry’s or the constant injury trouble this team faced. 

In all, the moves made last offseason provided Chicago with what they were aiming to acquire, and with the second overall pick secured in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, the rebuild of the Blackhawks is still on pace to be successful.

Leave a Reply