Report: Dylan Strome won't receive qualifying offer from Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks centre Dylan Strome. (Derik Hamilton/AP)

The Chicago Blackhawks do not intend to give Dylan Strome a qualifying offer, allowing the centre to walk as an unrestricted free agent, Mark Lazerus of The Athletic reports.

Strome, 25, was eligible for a $3.6-million qualifying offer after completing a backloaded two-year, $6-million contract.

Strome should be one of the more desirable centres in a thin free-agent market that's headlined by veteran stars Evgeni Malkin, Claude Giroux and Patrice Bergeron. In fact, of all the forwards expected to hit the open market, only Bergeron, David Perron and Phil Kessel had more points than Strome last season.

The 2021-22 campaign was an up-and-down one from Strome that saw him be healthy-scratched at times early in the campaign. He struggled to get on the board much before the all-star break, scoring just 18 points in 33 games but a role change in the second half created more opportunities and he rose to the challenge, scoring 30 points in his final 36 games.

In the end, Strome finished the season with 48 points, including a career-high 22 goals, while playing on a line with Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane.

However, the Blackhawks are in the midst of a significant teardown of the roster and it's clear Strome was not part of the long-term plan. The decision to not offer him a contract comes just days after DeBrincat was traded to the Senators and Kirby Dach was traded to the Canadiens for draft capital, including the seventh- and 13th-overall picks in last week's NHL Draft. The Blackhawks used those picks on defenceman Kevin Korchinski and forward Frank Nazar.

With so many important players leaving the Blackhawks this summer, the natural next question to ask is what does this mean for cornerstones, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews? Lazerus reported Thursday that Kane and Toews — who have no-move clauses — are "both in a 'wait and see' mode" following the DeBrincat and Dach trades.

"There’s value in having guys like that that can help mould and set the bar and set the example for younger players coming in," Davidson said of the two future Hall of Famers Thursday night. "But that’s a two-way street and they have to want to be a part of that. But you know what, to this point we haven’t heard otherwise."

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