Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks, Connor Bedard, Marian Hossa, News and Rumors, Philipp Kurashev

Blackhawks News & Rumors: Bedard, Kurashev, Hossa & More

It’s been a busy week for the Chicago Blackhawks, especially considering it’s the offseason. But the organization is tying up some loose ends as they prepare for the upcoming 2023-24 campaign, which should contain more excitement than last season. The team is taking its next step in their rebuild, and there are plenty of things to be encouraged about. Here’s the latest news and rumors.

Bedard Officially Signed

Did you hear the big news?! I know it’s old news by now, but it’s pretty big news in these parts. It was announced on Monday, July 17 that No. 1 overall pick Connor Bedard officially signed his NHL entry level contract with the Blackhawks, coincidentally on his 18th birthday. It came as no surprise, but it’s a pretty big deal in Chicago. So let’s re-live it.

It was a momentous occasion for Bedard and his family. While there was really no official reason to wait until he was 18, it seems fitting that Bedard could sign this contract as an authorized adult.

Related – Blackhawks: 5 Things to Look Forward to in 2023-23

Like most first overall picks, Bedard was granted a 3-year entry level contract with the maximum allowable base salary and performance bonuses ($950,000 cap hit, and $3.5 million in performance bonuses). Obviously, this is fitting for a generational talent of Bedard’s caliber, but also a win-win for both the player and the organization.

That said, let’s get this party started!

The Blackhawks tweeted out the above picture the very next day, showing an informal skate with Bedard and presumably some other Blackhawks on the ice. Who better to have in the background than the other Connor (Murphy)?! For fans, it’s enough to get the juices flowing for the start of season.

Kurashev Arbitration Decision

In my most recent news and rumors column from early June, I reported that forward Philipp Kurashev filed for arbitration on July 5, but the Blackhawks fully expected to get a deal done before his arbitration date on July 20. That didn’t happen. It was stated by The Athletic’s Scott Powers that Kurashev was looking for a one-year deal with a $2.65 million cap hit. But the Blackhawks were thinking more along the lines of a two-year deal with a $1.4 million cap hit. (from ‘Why Philipp Kurashev’s next contract is important for the Blackhawks’, The AthleticCHI – 6/30/23)

Philipp Kurashev, Chicago Blackhawks
Philipp Kurashev’s latest contract with the Chicago Blackhawks was determined by an arbitrator. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

On July 23 the arbitrator determined Kurashev will be awarded a two-year deal with a $2.25 million annual cap hit. Arbitrators generally rule in favor of the player, and they certainly did so in this situation. Kurashev almost got what he was asking for for just one year, and now he has the stability of a two-year contract.  

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This is also a very reasonable contract for the Blackhawks. They obviously wanted to pay a little less, but there’s plenty of money to go around right now. The 23-year-old might be considered more of a bottom-six forward on most teams, but he’s been given plenty of opportunity in the top-six over the last few seasons with the Blackhawks. With more talent coming in this season, it will be interesting to see where Kurashev eventually slots in.

Marcel Marcel Signs With IceHogs

On July 19 the Blackhawks announced their AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, signed their 2023 draft pick (131st overall) Marcel Marcel to a one-year deal. This is NOT a typo; his first name is Marcel and his last name is Marcel! The 6-foot-4 forward is only 19 years old, so like with Kevin Korchinski, there was some question whether he could play in the AHL due to Canadian Hockey League rules. But he will turn 20 on Oct. 31st, which falls after just five contests into the IceHogs season.

Marcel most recently played for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Gatineau Olympiques, where he posted 14 goals and 32 points in 52 games last season. But as a fifth round draft pick, this young man is mostly known for being interesting off the ice. Besides his double name, the Czechia native was quite the hoot during media interviews at development camp.

The beat writers that cover the IceHogs should be in for a treat when they get to interview Marcel this coming season!

Keith & Seabrook Inducted Into British Columbia Hall of Fame

On Friday, July 22 two Blackhawks’ legends, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, were inducted into the British Columbia Hall of Fame. It’s fitting the two should be inducted together, as they spent most of their career as great friends playing together in Chicago, on the same team and on the same defensive pairing.

I love the way Seabrook blurts out how he basically babysat Keith on and off the ice, and Keith immediately agrees with him. Ah, those were the days! These two were always so fun to watch. They are greatly missed.

Marian Hossa’s Goodbye Game

Here’s some fun news all the way from Trencin, Slovakia. Marian Hossa is hosting a “Goodbye Game”, which will officially be his last game played. The former Blackhawk and three-time Stanley Cup champion was forced out of the game due to complications from a progressive skin disorder. His last season was the 2016-17 season.

Hossa seems to be a pretty popular guy with his colleagues; just look at this roster!

The game will take place on Aug. 18 and all proceeds will go to HOSS Heroes, Hossa’s non-profit organization. Those who purchase tickets will receive a jersey signed by the man himself, to express his gratitude to those who have supported him and his career. Those jerseys are pretty sweet; I might have to find a way to travel to Trencin!

Related – Hossa: My Journey from Trencin to the Hall of Fame (Book Review)

It does look like you can purchased merchandise via this email address if interested. Wow, if this event was televised I would expect the ratings to be through the roof! We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.

That does it for this week’s news and rumors. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer as we anticipate the start of the 2023-24 season. Our THW crew has all kinds of scenarios and analysis pieces in the works while we wait. There’s always plenty to deliberate, so keep it right here at The Hockey Writers for your summer hockey fix!

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