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One Identity Piece Locked Up: Alex Vlasic Gets What He Hoped For

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Seth Jones talked about identity pieces, Kyle Davidson expresssed the need to improve the roster, and Alex Vlasic hoped for a long-term deal. All three got what they wanted as the Blackhawks cement their young foundation with a new contract for a clear identity piece in Alex Vlasic.

The Blackhawks signed Vlasic to a six-year deal that comes with a $4.6M cap hit. It’s a reasonable price for a defenseman who blew past all expectations and likely established himself as one of the core identity pieces needed to get the Blackhawks back to contention.

“Alex made enormous strides this year and proved is a legitimate top-four defenseman in the NHL,” Davidson said in the release. “In his first full season in the NHL, Alex established himself as an important piece of our young core and we’re excited to have him with us for the next six years.”

Vlasic ended up getting exactly what he hoped for. When asked at locker clean out on Saturday, he explained what he wanted and hoped the deal would get done sooner rather than later.

“I would love to be here as long as possible,” Vlasic said. “It’s amazing being able to play for my hometown team, the same city I grew up in–so I’m not really looking to go anywhere else. So yeah, I want to be here as long as possible and he[agent Scott Barlett] knows that.”

Blackhawks Blue Line Bolstered By Alex Vlasic–And Likely More Young Defensemen Soon

There’s an embrassment of riches for the Blackawks when it comes to their organizational depth at defense. Kevin Korchinski is already in Chicago and is likely another top four defenseman for the long haul. Ethan Del Mastro had a cup of coffee and is prime to be another long-term solution. Wyatt Kaiser spent time with the Blackhawks and fine tuned in Rockford before returning later in the season. Nolan Allan also has enjoyed a great season with Rockford and could be challenging for a roster spot as soon as next season.

This doesn’t even include Seth Jones and Connor Murphy, who are both the veteran stalwarts to help the “kids” along.

Vlasic, then, has been a tremendous bonus for a team that has tanked hard for two seasons and if gifted another lottery win, suddenly have two of their pairings set for next season with potentially Connor Bedard and Macklin Celebrini centering the top two lines. Suddenly, the rebuild has taken on a whole new look–and Vlasic, who was the 43rd pick (second round) in the 2019 Draft, helps anchor a blueline that can take the pressure off up front.

Beyond that, the cap flexibility Davidson has made a priority works beautifully here, allowing for a handsome reward financially for Vlasic while still being reasonable for the Blackhawks. Vlasic was stronger than Korchinski in terms of confidence and overall play–but also had a valuable season’s worth of work in Rockford. While Korchinski had baptism by fire due to the CHL-NHL agreement, Vlasic was brought along patiently and the returns have been outstanding.

So Vlasic gets his long-term deal. The Blackhawks get an identity piece for six years.

Talk about a win-win for all parties–and Blackhawks fans, too.

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