Blackhawks decline to extend qualifying offers to Anthony Duclair, Tomas Jurco


Blackhawks decline to extend qualifying offers to Anthony Duclair, Tomas Jurco

Anthony Duclair and Tomas Jurco were not tendered qualifying offers by the Blackhawks before Monday's 4 p.m. deadline, a source said, making each of them an unrestricted free agent on July 1. They're free to discuss a new contract with another team immediately because the negotiating window opened Sunday.

Duclair was in the final year of his entry-level contract that carried an $894,167 cap hit. The fact he had arbitration rights perhaps contributed to the Blackhawks wanting to part ways with the 22-year-old forward if there were no plans for him to be part of the every day roster, considering he could have commanded roughly $1.5 million per year, which is the same amount Vinnie Hinostroza was rewarded with earlier this month.

Duclair, who was acquired mid-season from the Arizona Coyotes for Richard Panik, racked up two goals and six assists in 23 games for the Blackhawks before missing the final 13 games of the season with a leg injury. The potential is certainly there — he scored 20 goals as a 20-year-old in 2015-16 — but he hasn't been able to put it all together yet and the Blackhawks have a surplus of young forwards ready to earn a spot on the 23-man roster.

Jurco signed a one-year extension with the Blackhawks worth $800,000 last summer in a prove-it type contract. He started the season with the Rockford IceHogs, where he registered 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in 36 games. It earned him a call-up in January, but it took a while for him to crack the lineup because of a logjam on the Blackhawks roster and he was never quite able to could get into a groove.

Still, in the big picture, Jurco compiled only 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in 42 games across two seasons in Chicago. Both parties were likely ready to move on from each other.

Jurco had a decent showing at the IIHF Men's World Championship, where he scored four goals and added an assist in seven games, which could help his case when seeking a contract elsewhere.

It's believed the Blackhawks also chose not to extend qualifying offers to Adam Clendening and Michael Chaput, the latter of whom was acquired on Sunday from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Tanner Kero.

Blackhawks not going to 'freak out' about 0-2-1 start

Blackhawks not going to 'freak out' about 0-2-1 start

The Blackhawks wanted to get off to a strong start this season because they know how hard it is to climb out of a hole in the Central Division. Last season was proof of that.

Well, they've picked up only one out of a possible six points through three games and are one of three teams still searching for their first victory of the season. But they're not going into panic mode just yet.

"We know there's things we have to improve upon," Jonathan Toews said. "Jeremy [Colliton] always talks about doing the right thing and over time eventually you're going to get results. I don't know if we can say we're doing things the right things that we want to and we're playing complete games right now, so even having said that, midway through the San Jose game and even against Winnipeg we were in a position to take control of the game going into the third period and we let teams back in. So I think there's a lot of ways we can play better.

"But having said that we're in those games and giving ourselves a chance to win. Obviously that's not good enough, but we're not going to freak out and say, 'we've got to start winning games.' Of course that's the goal, we wanted to get two points the other night."

The quest to pick up their first two points of the season doesn't get any easier for the Blackhawks on Monday night. The Edmonton Oilers are coming to town with a 5-0-0 record, and they're clicking on all cylinders. They have the second-best power play unit (41.2 percent), second-best penalty kill percentage (94.1), the NHL's leading point-getter in Connor McDavid (12) and leading goal scorer in James Neal (seven).

The Blackhawks know at some point they have to start stringing together some wins, but they're not living and dying by the standings right now because everything looks out of proportion. They're focused on the process and putting together a full 60-minute effort.

"It's always magnified at the start of the year," Colliton said. "Your special teams, you got [teams] with 100 percent PK, you got [teams] with 40 percent power play, and all the little things they look way bigger than they are. Would be nice for us to get a win, get some positive feelings but any three-game window among the 82, it's not going to be looked upon as closely as this one.

"So again, we've just got to focus on playing hard, playing the game the right way, do the right thing time and time again and we'll get the results." 

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Corey Crawford to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Oilers

USA Today

Corey Crawford to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Oilers

Corey Crawford will start in goal for the Blackhawks when they take on the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night. He's 0-2-0 with a 4.63 goals-against average and .875 save percentage this season.

In 18 career appearances against the Oilers, Crawford is 9-7-0 with a 2.53 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and one shutout. 

The decision is a little surprising, given how well Lehner performed on Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets and what his career numbers are against the Oilers. In eight starts vs. Edmonton, Lehner is 5-1-2 with a 1.86 goals-against average, .943 save percentage and one shutout.

"We're going to continue to ... both guys are going to get in," coach Jeremy Colliton said after Monday's morning skate. "They're both going to play. I'm not going to give you the road map, but today it's Crawford and we'll go from there."

The Blackhawks are seeking their first win of the season (0-2-1) against an Oilers team that's 5-0-0.

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