Blackhawks

Report: Marian Hossa has no plans to retire before contract with Blackhawks expires

Report: Marian Hossa has no plans to retire before contract with Blackhawks expires

It's no secret Marian Hossa is benefitting greatly from a lengthy offseason, something he's not used to.

After appearing in six Conference Finals and four trips to the Stanley Cup Final — three of which ended in victories with the Blackhawks — in the last nine years, the 37-year-old winger, who turns 38 in January, took full advantage of the extended rest by recharging mentally and physically.

It's reaping benefits early.

Hossa already has 11 goals in 19 games this season following a campaign in which he had 13 goals in 64 contests, the lowest goal output of his career. He's also averaging nearly a point per game, and three of his 11 goals have been game-winners, proving the chatter about Hossa being on the decline was a bit premature.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

The question now is, how long does he want to continue playing?

Hossa signed a 12-year, $63.3 million deal in 2009, which means he'd be 42 years old by the time his contract runs out.

His $5.275 million cap hit has been a bargain, but the underlying factor is that beginning next year, his base salary drops to $1 million annually and will stay that way until his contract ends in 2020-21 after it had been north of $4 million for the first eight.

Despite all that, Hossa has indicated he has no plans to retire any time soon and intends on playing out the remainder of his contract. Here's what he confirmed to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman in his 30 Thoughts column:

We’ve talked a lot this season about the grind of the compressed schedule and the World Cup of Hockey, but there is one player who definitely benefitted from the extra action: Marian Hossa.

“In some of those games, he was playing 23 minutes,” said Bowman, part of Team North America’s management group. “We were staying at the same hotel and I asked him if he was okay with that. He said, ‘I feel great.’ We’d talked about resting him during the season, but now? We’ll see how it goes.”

Hossa said he benefitted from the Blackhawks’ unusually long summer and, at age 37, plans to play the four remaining years of his contract.

Who can blame him? Nobody is having more fun playing hockey right now than Hossa, who's like fine wine: He seemingly gets better with age.

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Noah Dobson

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 180 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A very effective two-way defenseman with good puck distribution and a strong shot from the points on the power play. He is a point-producer with size, who defends and utilizes strong positioning and a good stick in the defensive zone."

NHL player comparable: Brent Burns

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks lacked defensemen that generated offense last year. They also lacked defenders than can ... defend. Dobson is a player who can do both, and if he slips past Vancouver at No. 7, the Blackhawks may have a difficult decision on their hands.

Dobson could solve some of those defensive issues, but it likely wouldn't be in time for the 2018-19 season. He needs time to develop properly.

The Blackhawks like to evaluate prospects based on what their ceiling is and where they're at in their development curve, and if they see major upside here, they'll go for it. It just depends if there's somebody available that they like better.

NHL Draft Profile: F Jesperi Kotkaniemi

NHL Draft Profile: F Jesperi Kotkaniemi

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Jesperi Kotkaniemi

Position: Center
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 189 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"Kotkaniemi has been a top-six forward for his league team in Finland all season and had a very solid U18 season relative to his historical peers in the league. He has very good hands that are high-end, if not flashing elite. He can make very skilled plays off an entry, but what impresses me is how well he can control the puck and keep plays alive."

NHL player comparable:

Fit for Blackhawks:

There isn't a player that has climbed the rankings in such a short amount of time than Kotkaniemi, who was initially projected to go outside the top 10 but could go as high as No. 3 overall. It's likely because there aren't many high-end centers in this draft, and he's the top one.

If Kotkaniemi happens to slip to No. 8, it may be hard for the Blackhawks to pass up on him. He's versatile, too, which is always a bonus, especially when playing under Joel Quenneville. But if they view him as a center, here's how the Blackhawks would look down the middle: Jonathan Toews, Nick Schmaltz, Kotkaniemi and Artem Anisimov.

Um, yeah. That'll work.