3 Blackhawks Players Who Won’t Be Back Next Season

The Chicago Blackhawks are in the running to get a lottery pick this season and they have loaded up a bunch of draft capital over the past few years. While they should finish right at the bottom of the standings and have already been mathematically eliminated from playoffs, the team wasn't involved in very many trades. All of the injuries this season have caused new players to come in, so there won't be room for everyone next season. Let's have a look at who won't be back.

Tyler Johnson

Tyler Johnson has been with the Blackhawks for a while now after being dealt from the Tampa Bay Lightning. His contract is finally coming to an end and is likely to find a new home in the offseason in free agency. Johnson's contract was too big to move, even at 50% retention, or the Blackhawks would have likely had better success trying to move it. The team is getting younger and there's already some veterans signed for next season. It doesn't make sense for a soon-to-be 34-year-old to take up another roster spot.

Nikita Zaitsev

Like Johnson, Nikita Zaitsev was a cap dumb to the Blackhawks and has been filling a spot on the bottom pairing this season. He is arguably not even an NHL talent anymore, but the Blackhawks' lineup is very weak. As they get younger on defense, it is only logical that Zaitsev is gone in free agency since he is a UFA after the season. His numbers have been bad on Chicago and he's also taking up a roster spot.

Zach Sanford

The Blackhawks have a few waiver claims on their roster, and that is due to all of the injuries they suffered around the same time. Zach Sanford was one of those claims and has gotten into 29 games this season at the NHL level, but he hasn't done much offensively and is a fringe NHL player at best. When healthy with Taylor Hall and Andreas Athanasiou back in the lineup, there is no place for Sanford. Since he is a UFA after the season, he should become a free agent without a contract extension from the Blackhawks.

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