In news that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, Viktor Stalberg is unlikely to be back with the Blackhawks next season.
“It seems highly likely that Vik will be entering the free agent marketplace,” agent Wade Arnott told ESPN’s Craig Custance.
Stalberg, 27, fell out of head coach Joel Quenneville’s favor during the playoffs and was a healthy scratch four times during the Stanley Cup run — hence the “no surprise” thing.
But this isn’t to say Stalberg won’t generate interest when he becomes a UFA on July 5.
At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, he’s got the size and skating ability — he was one of Chicago’s fastest players — to be a handful for opposing defensemen.
He posted career-highs in goals (22) and points (43) in 2011-12 and, in the shortened 2013 season, still managed to score at a 0.49 points per game clip, pretty close to what he posted the season prior (0.54).
He was non-committal in speaking about his future in Chicago, saying he “loved” playing for the ‘Hawks, but adding “over the last three years I’ve showed I deserve to play maybe more times than I got an opportunity to do here.”