For now, Blackhawks can look forward to NHL playoffs. After that, they have pivotal roster decisions to make.

Phil Thompson, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Hockey

CHICAGO -- When and where the NHL will restart this summer has yet to be determined, but the how has been established.

There will be a 24-team postseason -- which will include the Chicago Blackhawks -- and the league is determining which cities will host the games should workouts get the green light to resume.

But even with the league under lockdown since March, teams have carried on with personnel plans, and that includes the Hawks.

Once this season is officially over, do they rebuild or retool?

The Hawks started in earnest in April with contract extensions for goalie Kevin Lankinen and winger Matthew Highmore and a three-year, entry level-deal for defenseman Ian Mitchell.

Last month's firing of President and CEO John McDonough suggests Chairman Rocky Wirtz and his son Danny, McDonough's temporary replacement, haven't been satisfied with where management has led the franchise.


If general manager Stan Bowman keeps his job, he'll have to decide which young free agents to keep as cornerstones and which contracts to shed. And will he add free agents who can help make an immediate push -- if he believes the Stanley Cup is within reach -- or will Bowman build for the long term?

Much depends on what deadline Bowman faces, but the Wirtz family has yet to tip its hand.

Here's where each player on the roster stands through the now-completed regular season and what's next in 2020-21 (cap hits are from



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