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Hjalmarsson agrees to five-year, $20.5 million extension with Chicago

Sep 4, 2013, 10:01 AM EDT

Niklas Hjalmarsson #4 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates with the puck against the Boston Bruins in Game Three of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 17, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.
(June 16, 2013 - Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

Niklas Hjalmarsson has already won the Stanley Cup twice with the Chicago Blackhawks and the team wants to keep him around as they try to become a modern dynasty. That’s the backdrop as the Blackhawks announced that Hjalmarsson has agreed to a five-year extension.

According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the deal is for $20.5 million with a $4.1 million average annual value.

Hjalmarsson still has one season at $3.5 million left on his old deal, so he’s now locked up through the 2018-19 campaign. Although he’s never recorded more than 17 points in a single season, Hjalmarsson is a solid defender who’s willing to sacrifice his body by blocking shots. He averaged over 20 minutes per game in each of his last two campaigns.

The 26-year-old defenseman becomes the sixth Chicago Blackhawks player signed through at least 2016-17. Forwards Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, and Bryan Bickell as well as fellow blueliner Duncan Keith are also on that list. Recently goaltender Corey Crawford joined them with a six-year, $36 million extension.

Chicago is in a potentially tricky spot from a cap perspective. With Hjalmarsson signed, they now have about $36.6 million in cap space dedicated to just seven players in 2015-16 and that doesn’t include Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane as both are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2015.

  1. endusersolutions2013 - Sep 4, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    Putting these two signings together, it really looks like Stan Bowman is banking on the cap moving up significantly in the next 2 years.

  2. endusersolutions2013 - Sep 4, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    And for any fans of other teams, I’ve read all the bandwagon, not physical enough, asterisk… slights. Don’t know your motivations, but what I would like for you to consider is that currently, the Hawks are very good for the NHL. They are good for ratings. They are good for increased attendance at your home arena, like us or not. Overall hockey interest.

    Hawks are very good for helping keep lesser franchises treading water due to revenue sharing.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Sep 4, 2013 at 11:23 AM

      Interesting – 4 quick thumbs down, and nobody took the effort to refute. Apparantly hawks success and what they have built are offensive. Unfortunate.

      • ejbigg - Sep 4, 2013 at 3:09 PM

        Deep down all hockey fans know that bandwagoners are good for the game because fans are good for the game. Real hockey fans want to see the game grow and spread to more people.

        However, for the many hockey fans like myself who have grown up nearly obsessing over a particular team for their entire lives, it is a bit aggravating to see popular teams with so many unknowledgable fans who will leave at the first sign of a rebuild. So I don’t think the bashing of bandwagoners will ever stop (in any sport, music, etc), but in reality we all know how important they are for the league and for the game.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Sep 4, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        ejb, agreed. What I get irked about is when tosses out the “bandwagon” label regarding something I’ve posted, typically when I don’t go into huge detail (and when I do “wax professorial” I tick off other folks).

        My dad took me to my 1st Hawks game in the 60’s, so I imagine you can see why I react to that getting tossed out when there is no evidence of “hockey rookiehood”.

  3. bwana63 - Sep 4, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    Hell, yes!!! Amazing deal.

  4. phillyphanatic77 - Sep 4, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    That’s a really good value- a lot better than the Crawford deal (altho they needed to sign him). On the open market Hjalmarsson would’ve gotten an annual cap hit pushing $5, maybe even above if a team was desperate. Like others have said, Bowman has to be banking on a substantial rise in the cap ceiling bc they can’t risk not having room for Kane and Toews monster deals. Hossa may be a cap casualty after this season… they might be able to find a trading partner if he stays healthy, despite a deal that runs far beyond his 40th birthday.

  5. pone27 - Sep 4, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Bowman is a very smart man…. Way smarter than I thought he really was (and I did already consider him a very good GM)

    Hossa is looking more and more like a casulty from all of this. But on the optomistic side, maybe Bowman has something (no clue what) up his sleeve to keep them around.

    I do have a strong feeling though that Toews and Kaner will avoid hitting the market and take a home team discount…. Fingers crossed.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Sep 4, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      At some point, winning (and associated bonuses) and endorsement/revenue are also to be considered. Chicago is a big media market, and they are local stars.

      Another intangible is awards – just like their odds of playoff success are likely better staying, their odds of things like the Silke, Hart, Conn Smyth, and ultimately HOF are best with the Hawks.

  6. wjarvis - Sep 4, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    In the comments for this and crawford’s extension, a lot of people seem to be thinking that Hossa will become a cap casualty, and I don’t really know how the hawks would do that. They already used their two compliance buyouts on Montador and Olesz, so they’d either have to find a trade partner or a standard buyout that would have a significant cap hit until 2028. I’m just wondering how people expect to get rid of his cap hit?

    • bollandio - Sep 4, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      Same as Brian Campbell.. trade him in a couple years to a team near the cap floor and take a Rusty Olesz-type in return and bury him in Rockford. It cost Rocky a few mil, but it circumvented the cap.. maybe the new CBA changed that tho. I also don’t think Hoss has a no movement clause.

      • wjarvis - Sep 4, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        Yes they did change that in the new cba, so you can’t hide bad contracts in the minors, hence why Montador and Olesz were bought out. Campbell’s contract was expensive but will only go until he’s 37, unlike Hossa’s which goes to 42. I guess a trade is possible since I didn’t think Campbell was going anywhere, but I still think it’s unlikely.

    • chanceoffleury1 - Sep 4, 2013 at 5:55 PM

      If the cap goes up by a lot then they could possibly end up taking on some of his contract in a trade. The Hawks eating a million or two of that contract makes it a much more justifiable trade. It’s cheaper for the Hawks than a buyout but the other team takes away a pretty big chunk of the “risk” of trading for him. A team like the islanders that struggles to hit the cap floor, needs leadership, and might be able to be convinced he’s the missing piece could end up being a trade partner. Somebody is gonna have to be in a pretty desperate struggle to hit the floor to take on the duration of that contract.

  7. gret9 - Sep 4, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    I’m a Crawford supporter, but I while I disagree with Stan’s agreement with Corey, I LOVE this signing. Five more years of Hammer for only an extra 600,000 per season? GREAT move Stan!

  8. earpaniac - Sep 4, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    This is an incredible deal for the Hawks. I think Hammer is one of the NHL’s most underrated players. I think in FA he would’ve gotten a lot more.

  9. blackhawks2010 - Sep 5, 2013 at 1:43 AM

    Hjammer time! Good move, Bowman has done a nice job in managing the cap and getting the “aces in the right places”.

    Hawks are in great shape for yet another Cup run.

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