Blackhawks

What's the holdup in contract negotiations between Brendan Perlini and Blackhawks?

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USA TODAY

What's the holdup in contract negotiations between Brendan Perlini and Blackhawks?

Labor Day has officially passed, which means players are starting to trickle back to their respective cities in preparation for the 2019-20 NHL season. But there are still plenty of housekeeping items on the agenda for general managers across the league.

Brock Boeser, Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine, Mitch Marner, Brayden Point, Mikko Rantanen and Matthew Tkachuk are all notable restricted free agent forwards who have yet to sign with their respective clubs and may not have a deal before training camp opens. Same with defensemen Charlie McAvoy, Ivan Provorov and Zach Werenski. These are significant names.

The holdup among the upper tier forward group appears to be Marner, who could reset the market for wingers because he feels he deserves to be paid as much as, if not more than, teammates Auston Matthews and John Tavares — $11 million average annual value. And if he gets close to that, you better believe the camps of Point and Rantanen will argue they should be in the same ballpark.

But the trickle-down effect shouldn't have a direct impact on the middle- to lower-tier RFAs who are seeking bridge deals. So what's holding up the contract negotiations between Brendan Perlini and the Blackhawks?

First off, it doesn't appear to be cap-related. The Blackhawks have room to squeeze in whatever Perlini's number comes in at so it's not like they have to move salary out to make it work. The question is whether the organization feels he's worth whatever he's asking for or whether they're better off going with a cheaper option who could provide just as much value if the two sides can't agree on an extension.

There have been three signings over the past week that we could point to as potential comparables, as we discussed on the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Ivan Barbashev (two years, $1.475 million cap hit), Anthony Beauvillier (two years, $2.1 million cap hit) and Adrian Kempe (three years, $2 million cap hit). All three of those players are coming off their entry-level contracts and have produced at a similar rate as Perlini over their first three seasons:

— Barbashev: 26 goals in 163 games, 0.31 points per game
— Beauvillier: 48 career goals in 218 games, 0.40 points per game
— Kempe: 30 career goals in 187 games, 0.38 points per game
— Perlini: 45 career goals in 199 games, 0.36 points per game

The two players we should be looking at are Beauvillier and Kempe, both of whom were first-round draft picks and play top-nine roles for their respective teams. Barbashev is viewed as more of a bottom-six forward, but we mentioned him in here because Perlini's camp could argue that their client deserves at least as much as Barbashev and his $1.475 million cap hit.

But now look at it from the Blackhawks' perspective: While Perlini finished with 21 points (14 goals, seven assists) in 68 total games in 2018-19, eight of those 14 goals and 10 of those 21 points came during a seven-game span in March when he had an offensive explosion. The other 61 games? 11 points (six goals, five assists) for a points-per-game average of 0.18.

Which Perlini would the Blackhawks be getting? The team is probably hoping for somewhere in the middle on a nightly basis, but they can't afford to healthy scratch a player who's making $2 million per year (or somewhere in that range) like they did on multiple occasions last season if the production isn't there.

With training camp starting on Friday, Sept. 13, we should get more clarity on the situation soon, one way or another.

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How to watch Blackhawks vs. Hurricanes: Time, TV schedule and streaming info

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USA Today

How to watch Blackhawks vs. Hurricanes: Time, TV schedule and streaming info

The Blackhawks host the Carolina Hurricanes in the second fame of a three-game homestand. The Blackhawks have been playing well as of late thanks to a schematic change made by head coach Jeremy Colliton.

And the Hawks are making a push up the standings in the process.

On Tuesday night, Patrick Kane will also look to celebrate his birthday in style by continuing his hot streak, which has been a vital part of the Hawks success this season.

Here's how you can watch and stream the game:

Date: Tuesday, November 19
Time: 7:30 p.m. CST
Location: United Center | Chicago, Ill.
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Stream: MyTeams

NBC Sports Chicago Coverage

SportsTalk Live: 6:00 p.m. CST
Blackhawks Pregame: 7:00 p.m. CST
Blackhawks Postgame Live: 10:00 p.m. CST*

* - Immediately following conclusion of the game

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After facing early adversity, Blackhawks starting to believe they could be 'a dangerous team'

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AP

After facing early adversity, Blackhawks starting to believe they could be 'a dangerous team'

NASHVILLE — The Blackhawks were optimistic about their group going into the 2019-20 season because it was an offseason centered around changing the makeup of the roster. They were also on a 100-point pace from January-on to close out the 2018-19 campaign, and getting a full training camp under head coach Jeremy Colliton to build on that was supposed to pay off from the start of the season.

But after opening this season with a 3-6-2 record, the Blackhawks started to question themselves. They didn't have an identity and found themselves caught in the middle of wanting to be an offensive team but also stressing a defense-first mentality after they gave up the second-most goals last season.

Since making a schematic change on Nov. 7, the Blackhawks have earned nine out of a possible 10 points in their last five games and have scored 24 goals over that span for a goals-per-game average of 4.80. They had scored 33 goals total in the previous 14 games for an average of 2.36 per game.

The Blackhawks are starting to look like the hockey team Chicago was hoping they'd be this season, and the internal confidence is growing also.

"We got through a difficult time and being in the beginning of the year, it's magnified," Colliton said following a 7-2 win over the Predators on Saturday night. "If we would've went through that stretch in January, with 40 good games before, then maybe it's not as big of a deal. But when you come out of the gates like that, you put the team under pressure, everyone's under pressure. Happy that we were able to come out of it and stick together.

"Now there's definitely some belief that we're a dangerous team and we're going to be difficult to beat."

The first month of the season was difficult on everyone. The players, the coaches, the management group. Something needed to change, or the results wouldn't.

The Blackhawks are relieved that not only did they prevent things from spiraling out of control, but they're coming together as a team and stringing together wins. 

"It's more like urgency to get going in the right direction," Colliton said on whether he personally felt pressure after their slow start. "We like our team, we like our players, just wasn't working. So as a coach and our staff and the players too, we have a responsibility to turn over every rock. It doesn't mean going back and forth and zigzagging with what we want to do, but I think the guys have really done a good job of responding to adversity, and now we're on a run."

Having gone through the adversity this early in the season, the Blackhawks will be better for it in the long run knowing they can overcome whatever challenges are thrown at them along the way, as long as they continue playing the right way. Because if they do, the Blackhawks will give themselves a chance to win on a nightly basis, especially with the offense being unleashed and Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner serving as the last line of defense.

"We've had a great team, but we just had a little rough start at the beginning," Alex Nylander said. "We're coming together now and we're creating chances and we're shooting the puck more, so we've been doing a really good job the past couple games and we just need to keep going like this."

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