The start date for the 2020-21 NHL season remains to be determined, but players are starting to trickle back to their respective markets in anticipation that a deal will get done soon.
The Blackhawks still have one main order of business to take care of before then and it's re-signing Dylan Strome, who's a restricted free agent. He received a qualifying offer but remains unsigned, although it's nothing to be alarmed about when you consider Mathew Barzal, Anthony Cirelli and Pierre-Luc Dubois are among the players in the same boat.
We're just exiting the lull period of the offseason, which means things should start to kick back up again. But training camp doesn't appear to be far away and at some point, the two sides must work out a deal.
Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said in October that he "would anticipate we're going to get that done" when asked for an update on Strome. He remained optimistic on Friday, but didn't provide any concrete information.
"No updates," Bowman said. "We have had conversations with his agent, ongoing discussions. As you guys know over the years, I’m always optimistic that we’ll get something done. Really nothing to report other than we’re negotiating with him and hopeful that we’ll get that done."
It's worth noting Strome's former agent Mark Guy recently left the industry after a 20-plus-year run, which could have contributed to the delay in a potential extension. His new agent is Pat Morris, who represents Cirelli, Jacob Markstrom, Ryan O'Reilly and many others.
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