Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman

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Zawaski: Dominik Kubalik Shines In Blackhawks Debut

Kubalik had two goals in a loss to the Red Wings on Tuesday.

Jay Zawaski
September 18, 2019 - 11:21 am

(670 The Score) In my Blackhawks preseason preview, I discussed the intense competition for winger spots on the team. The way I see it, there are 14 players competing for four or five roster spots.

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One of the favorites to land a spot is former Swiss league sniper Dominik Kubalik. Drafted by the Kings in the seventh round in 2013, Kubalik bounced between the Czech league, the Ontario Hockey League and the Swiss league. Back in January, while Kubalik was leading the Swiss National League in scoring, the Blackhawks traded a fifth-round pick to the Kings for his rights. 

Since that acquisition, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman discussed Kubalik as a player whom he expects to contribute to the 2019-'20 team.

"We expect him to be on our team next year," Bowman told Scott Powers of the Athletic back in March. "I think he’s going to play a role on the Blackhawks next year."

On Tuesday, Kubalik made his Blackhawks debut, scoring two goals in a 5-3 loss to the Red Wings. His two goals demonstrated the versatility he can bring to the roster. Not only does Kubalik have a great shot, he’s willing to get in front of the net and use his size (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) to create space and win battles.

On his first goal, he found a rebound off of Carl Dahlstrom’s point shot. 

Not only did Kubalik put himself in the right place at the right time, he found the rebound and put it behind Red Wings goalie Calvin Pickard quickly and skillfully.

His next goal was even more impressive and was reminiscent of a former Blackhawks sniper. 

That looked a little bit like a mirrored version of Artemi Panarin, didn't it? Kubalik was positioned on the right wing side looking for that slap-shot one-timer for much of the game Tuesday, especially on special teams. It’s a bit early to proclaim the Hawks have found their new Panarin in Kubalik, but it seems as if Bowman’s feeling that Kubalik will contribute this season was correct.  

"He felt like he could have had a couple more (goals)," coach Jeremy Colliton told reporters postgame. "Of course, he scored the nice one-timer, everyone’s going to talk about that, but he went to the net and found a rebound which as a goal scorer if you can score those too it’s going to help you."

Perhaps it's time to reduce the number of open roster spots by one. Kubalik, who will be in the Blackhawks lineup for their game at the United Center on Wednesday evening, looks like a lock. 

Jay Zawaski is the executive producer of the Bernstein & McKnight Show on 670 middays from 9 a.m. to noon and a columnist for 670 The Score. He's also the co-host of the Madhouse Chicago Hockey Podcast, which is available on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or your preferred podcast app. Follow him on Twitter @JayZawaski670.​​​