The Blackhawks have agreed to terms with restricted free-agent center Dylan Strome on a two-year contract extension, the team announced Sunday. His cap hit is $3 million.
The signing comes at a crucial time, not just because training camp begins Monday at Fifth Third Arena, but because the Blackhawks will be without centers Kirby Dach (wrist) for four-to-five months and Jonathan Toews (illness) indefinitely.
"We believe Dylan is ready to take the next step in his career and build off the strides he has made in his first two years in Chicago," GM Stan Bowman said in a statement. "He has great offensive instincts and brings creativity and skill to our team. We are thrilled he is now signed and able to join us tomorrow for the start of training camp."
Strome will likely serve as the first-line center going into the 2020-21 season, and it will be a great opportunity for the 23-year-old to take on a larger role for a Blackhawks team that desperately needs players to step up after a trio of recent significant injuries. He's almost certainly going to play with Patrick Kane, with whom he developed strong chemistry towards the end of the regular season, and will be a fixture on the first power-play unit.
Strome averaged nearly a point per game in his first season with the Blackhawks, compiling 51 points (17 goals, 34 assists) in 58 games. His production dipped in Year 2 after accumulating 38 points (12 goals, 26 assists) in 58 games, although an ankle injury and the team's lack of power-play success played a role in that.
Strome was drafted No. 3 overall by the Arizona Coyotes in the 2015 NHL Draft. He was acquired by the Blackhawks along with forward Brendan Perlini in November of 2018 in exchange for center Nick Schmaltz.