Like Artemi Panarin, the Blackhawks found a player overseas who then enjoyed a breakout season in the NHL. Like Panarin, Chicago then had to find a way to pay him.
Panarin ended up signing a bridge deal with Chicago after his breakout and then was traded to Columbus when it became apparent that the team wouldn't be able to afford his next contract.
Kubalik, 25, finished third in Calder Trophy voting this season after leading all rookies with 30 goals. He did that playing on a one-year deal with a cap hit of $925,000.
The Blackhawks have been struggling with the salary cap for years, and this season is no different. The cap remains flat, and Chicago also has to pay restricted free agent Dylan Strome. The team has decided to let longtime goalie Corey Crawford walk, which will save money.
The Blackhawks also announced that they have agreed to terms on a two-year deal with goalie Malcolm Subban. The contract has a cap hit of $850,000. Subban came to the Blackhawks last season in the deal that sent goalie Robin Lehner to Vegas.
Subban will compete with Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen for the starting and backup spots in Chicago.
Kubalik was drafted by the Kings in the seventh round in 2013 but remained overseas. The Blackhawks traded a fifth-round pick for him in 2019, and he made the club out of training camp.