Brooke LoFurno The Hockey Writers
Blackhawks News & Rumors: Olczyk, Soderlund, Murray & More
In the Chicago Blackhawks’ world, things seem to have gone back to normal. The team is riding off the playoff buzz and all that entails. The Blackhawks have finished their exit interviews, which means now the fun starts. The roster and the rumors that go along with it are starting to get red hot. Here’s the latest from Chicago.
Olczyk Stays Put
It was reported earlier this week that NBC and Blackhawks’ analyst Eddie Olczyk was interviewing for the general manager (GM) position for the Florida Panthers. This comes as no surprise. In June, he interviewed for the New Jersey Devils’ GM position. So, it makes sense for him to take another interview. Journalist Elliotte Friedman sent out a tweet on Sept. 1 to give an update on Florida.
We are all privy to how accurate Friedman is when it comes to news. With that being said, it looks like Florida got their man. So Olczyk is staying put… for now. We’ll have to wait and see what comes of his GM pursuits. The good news is that at this moment, he is still a part of the Blackhawks’ family.
Söderlund Loaned to Sweden
The Blackhawks announced on Sept. 1 that left-wing Tim Söderlund has been loaned to the Almtuna IS hockey team. The team is part of the HockeyAllsvenskan League in Sweden; which is also Söderlund’s native country. Söderlund split this hockey season between Chicago’s affiliate teams: the Rockford Icehogs (AHL) and the Indy Fuel (ECHL).
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Söderlund struggled this year with one goal, two assists, three points, and was a minus-six in 29 games in Rockford. He was then sent down to Indy where he had two goals, four assists, six points, and was a plus-six in seven games. Clubs usually loan their players to different teams as a way to give them more ice time. The AHL and the ECHL cancelled the remainder of their seasons because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, the Blackhawks giving Söderlund this opportunity to see more playing time should bode well for his development.
Söderlund is 22-years-old and was drafted by Chicago back in 2017. He was drafted in the fourth round (112th overall). His place within the organization is scattered at the moment. So, it will be interesting to see what he can do with this opportunity.
It was announced on Sept. 1 that a defensive prospect has left the Blackhawks’ organization. 24-year-old Joni Tuulola has decided to sign overseas in his home country of Finland. He has signed a one-year deal with KooKoo of the Liiga league. Chicago drafted Tuulola in the sixth round of the 2015 draft (181st overall). He has been with Rockford since 2018. His total stats for his Icehogs’ tenure is six goals, 16 assists, 22 points, and was a plus-four in 110 games.
It seems expected that Tuulola would leave. The Blackhawks have a lot of defensemen in their system and it’s getting very crowded for them at the AHL and NHL level. With names like Chad Krys, Ian Mitchell, and Nicolas Beaudin, who are expected to be big pieces of the team’s future, something has to give.
There is something I keep coming across online that has been catching my eye. We all know the Blackhawks’ goalie situation is confusing at the moment. We don’t know for sure if Corey Crawford will be re-signed, or anything of that nature. But, there have been some articles posted about a possible connection between Chicago and Pittsburgh Penguins’ goaltender, Matt Murray. There is nothing concrete linking the two as of right now. However, the speculation seems like it could have some ground. If the team becomes stuck in a rut with Crawford, they’re going to need somebody.
Murray is 26-years-old and has won two Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017. He is now a restricted free agent. He struggled this season posting a .899 save percentage (SV%), but his overall career SV% is .914. Murray will gain quite a bit of interest in his championship history and his youth. I think he is definitely someone that general manager Stan Bowman could have an interest in.
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Take this speculation with a grain of salt. But, I think it’s an idea to keep on the back-burner if the Blackhawks need to go down the goaltending rabbit hole.
Look to see a lot more rumors floating around as we are getting deeper into the offseason, and more!
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