Blackhawks sign forwards Max Domi, Andreas Athanasiou in NHL free agency

The Blackhawks entered the first day of NHL free agency Wednesday needing a few forwards to fill out their roster.

They did just that by signing Max Domi and Andreas Athanasiou to matching one-year contracts with $3 million salary-cap hits, per numerous reports.

Domi and Athanasiou promptly become the fourth- and fifth-highest paid forwards on the Hawks’ books, but they likely won’t be in Chicago for long. It wouldn’t be surprising to see general manager Kyle Davidson try to flip them to a contender for assets at the trade deadline as the Hawks long-term rebuild continues.

Domi, 27, recorded 39 points in 72 games for the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes last season. The son of former NHL enforcer Tie Domi, he has never quite lived up to his draft position (12th overall in 2013) or his 2018-19 breakout season in Montreal (72 points), but he remains a solid middle-six winger.

His fiery competitiveness is his most well-known trait, although he does have some playmaking skill. It’ll be interesting to see him on the same team as Connor Murphy, whom he attacked in a bizarre 2021 in-game incident in Columbus.

Athanasiou, also 27, recorded 40 points in 75 games for the Kings over the last two seasons, missing a large chunk of 2021-22 with an injury. He, too, enjoyed his best career season in 2018-19, when he hit the 30-goal milestone with the Red Wings.

His burning speed is his most well-known trait, checking off the other box — in addition to competitiveness –that Davidson has frequently mentioned as priorities in player evaluation.

The Hawks also signed depth goaltender Alex Stalock to a one-year contract with $750,000 cap hit on Wednesday, The Athletic’s Scott Powers reported.

Stalock struggled mightily last season, posting an .869 save percentage in 17 AHL appearances and .786 save percentage in one NHL game for the Sharks, after missing the 2021 season with a heart condition. He’d previously been a solid backup, going 36-29-11 with a .908 save percentage for the Wild from 2017 to 2020.

This story will be updated.

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