Jason Dickinson can ‘see what’s down the line’ for the Chicago Blackhawks after agreeing to a 2-year extension

Jason Dickinson has a distinct vision of what the Chicago Blackhawks might look like two years from now — a vision that now includes him.

“You’re sitting here (today) talking about potential — this is what he can be, this is what he’s going to do — you’re going to start seeing it,” the Hawks forward said Tuesday. “That’s going to be the biggest difference.

“They’ve built a huge network of prospects. ... It’s going to be those guys that come forward that push the team ahead.”

While Dickinson can see the Hawks signing a high-scoring forward or top defenseman in free agency, “it’s going to be mainly built inside the locker room, built inside the organization,” he said. “Just players growing, getting better and taking on more of the burden.

“Right now you’ve got a young guy that’s got to play 25 minutes a night, sometimes maybe a little bit out of his element. In two years, that’s going to be his element. He’s going to be confident and he’s going to thrive in it.”

Dickinson, 28, hopes to be one of the catalysts to help get them there. He and the Hawks agreed to terms on a two-year, $8.5 million contract, the team announced Tuesday.

The deal carries a $4.25 million annual salary-cap hit and keeps Dickinson in Chicago through the 2025-26 season.

Dickinson wanted more — not necessarily more money but more time.

“I see something here,” he said. “I’m not going to lie, I would’ve liked a few more years because I see what’s down the line. I see the potential, I see where things can go and I would love to be a part of that.”

But he appreciates the commitment the Hawks showed.

“It’s nice to be somewhere you’re wanted,” he said. “I’m appreciative of (general manager) Kyle (Davidson) and his team and my guys for getting something done because it’s a place I want to be.”

Heading into Tuesday’s home shootout 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks, Dickinson had a career-high 14 goals — on pace for 27 this season — along with seven assists.

“Jason adds a unique two-way game to our lineup and his compete level is consistently strong every night,” Davidson said in a statement. “He’s showing his offensive game this year, which has been a huge lift to our team.

“His leadership has been instrumental, and the impact has been evident around the room, particularly with our young guys. We’re excited to bring him back and to see him continue to grow with our team.”

In some ways, Dickinson’s ascension came out of nowhere.

He was a first-round draft pick in 2013 by the Dallas Stars, who shipped him to the Vancouver Canucks in July 2021 to avoid potentially losing him for nothing to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft.

Dickinson floundered in his one season in Vancouver — five goals and six assists in 62 games — and the Canucks traded him and a 2024 second-round pick to the Hawks on Oct. 7, 2022, for defenseman Riley Stillman and cap space.

“Things could’ve turned out much differently this year had I not been given the opportunity here,” Dickinson said. “I could’ve been struggling there still. I could’ve turned things around there as well, though. We’ll never know what would’ve come of it had I not been given the chance here and turned things around.”

He did so by hunkering down and refining his offensive game.

That and “a ton of confidence,” Dickinson said. “That is No. 1. And then opportunity. ... It’s not one secret recipe that I can pinpoint for you, but it’s just everything coming together at the right time.”

His career-best numbers — as well as his ability to play up and down a lineup, take faceoffs and join a penalty kill — might have drawn interest from other teams as the March 8 trade deadline drew closer.

So it speaks volumes that the rebuilding Hawks, who in the last two years hadn’t met a pending free agent they wouldn’t flip for draft picks, opted not to cash in on his value. And it gives Dickinson peace of mind.

“That does take a little bit of the ease of trade deadline out of it,” he said.

Dickinson quietly established himself this season as a locker-room leader along with occasional linemate Nick Foligno, whom the Hawks extended Friday with a two-year, $9 million deal.

“It’s awesome,” Philipp Kurashev said of the moves. “Those guys are amazing guys.”

Kurashev said both players occupy “huge” roles in the locker room.

“Just the way they treat everyone and the way they they want to help everyone,” he said. “They’re so vocal (as) leaders and I definitely look up to them and try to take things from them in that aspect. So it’s been really fun playing with them.”

Coach Luke Richardson said Dickinson and Foligno have earned respect with the coaching staff too.

“We confide in them a lot to pass messages on through the team and where we want that leadership and examples to be and what we need,” he said. “They don’t just say, ‘Oh, yes,’ and go ahead and do it. They ask questions and give their opinions, and we value that.

“If everything’s, ‘Yeah, OK, yeah, OK,’ and they go do it, we’re not getting a feel of the dressing room. ... For us to coach properly with the group of guys, we need to have some feedback.”

It’s part of the investment Dickinson has made in the team, and he sees room to build on that investment.

“They’ve invested two years in me,” he said, “so now it’s my job to help raise the level and keep giving back what I can to make it worthwhile.”