Dominik Kubalik did more than just become a full-time starter for the Anaheim Ducks last season; he became a full-time point producer. The 22-year-old Czech winger tallied 26 points last year, finishing second on the team in assists and short-handed goals. He ranked fourth on the roster with a plus-6 rating. He also tied for third in game-winning goals with three, and tied for fifth in goals with 12. And in case you missed it, Kubalik was one of the more versatile Ducks, playing on all four lines and positions on special teams.
The Pittsburgh Penguins selected Dominik Kubalik in the 5th round of the 2017 NHL entry draft, in the hopes that they had found a steal. A 6’2 winger with a strong, physical presence, Kubalik was a player that was projected to go later in the draft, but the Penguins were able to pick him up in the 5th round for a bargain.
Last season Dominik Kubalik created a furore as a rookie with the Chicago Blackhawks. The 25-year-old Czech scored 30 goals in a shortened 65-game season and finished third in the Calder Trophy standings. Kubalik continues to light the lamp this season, but it is his overall play that is most impressive.
Kubalik is quickly becoming a household name for Blackhawks fans as the 2019-20 season approaches. His first goal came in the second game, and he never looked back.
Kubalik scored 30 goals and had five games with multiple goals, including his first career hat trick in a 5-2 victory over the Stanley Cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning.
He also showed his scoring prowess in the elimination round against the Edmonton Oilers. Kubalik scored three goals in the four-game series and another in the first round against the Golden Knights.
It was clear that the Blackhawks and Stan Bowman made the right choice by trading the fifth round pick for Kubalik. He has a knack for scoring goals and can put the puck in play from almost anywhere on the ice. Of the 30 goals, 26 were scored in even numbers.
Like most players, it is very difficult to score goals consistently in the NHL. When there is a break, and there always is, players have to find other ways to be effective.
The second season of Kubalik was long awaited. After a 30-goal season as a rookie, most pundits would have predicted a regression. But as Alex DeBrincat has shown (he scored 41 goals in his second season), that doesn’t always happen.
Kubalik continues to find the ball in the goal. In 50 games this season, Kubalik has scored 16 goals (12, including four power play goals).
But what Kubalik has shown this season in terms of positional play is just as impressive.
His 16 assists are third on the team and his 10 power play assists are second on the team.
Kubalik also uses his height (6-foot-3, 80 pounds) to protect the puck along the boards and in tight areas. With his scoring ability, Kubalik could be a player on the perimeter and get results, but players need to contribute in all areas of the ice to be successful.
His physical attributes have also helped him in his role on the third and fourth lines this season. Kubalik has 53 hits this season, the third most among outfielders, and has 12 steals to his name.
Finally, Kubalik also didn’t sacrifice his play on the defensive end to bring the offense. He has only 25 goals against in his career, fewer than teammates Alex DeBrincat and Brandon Hagel.
Kubalik’s two-year, $7.4 million contract expires after the 2021-22 season, when he becomes a free agent. There is no doubt he will demand more in his next contract and the Blackhawks will want to keep him.
Kubalik is quickly becoming an important figure in the Blackhawks’ plans. His 46 goals in the past two seasons are second only to Patrick Kane’s, and his 78 points are the third highest total in that period.
His ability to play a full game will allow him to continue to improve and score more than just points.
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