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Blackhawks re-sign Ben Smith, Raanta

Jun 27, 2014, 10:55 AM EDT

Antti Raanta AP

The Chicago Blackhawks have announced that goaltender Antti Raanta and forward Ben Smith have agreed to two-year contract extensions. They were eligible to become restricted free agents on Tuesday.

Raanta’s deal is worth $1.5 million while Smith will earn $3 million over the life of his contract, per ESPN/TSN’s Pierre LeBrun.

After some brief stints with the Blackhawks over the last few years, Smith firmly established himself in 2013-14 by scoring 14 goals and 26 points in 75 games. He helped the team kill penalties and served as a bottom-six forward. Chicago wasn’t afraid to use him in the playoffs either and Smith ended up averaging 15:13 minutes per contest in Chicago’s postseason run, up from 12:44 minutes in the regular season.

Raanta also had a big season in 2013-14. Although Nikolai Khabibulin was supposed to serve as Corey Crawford‘s understudy, Khabibulin was sidelined for almost the entire campaign. Raanta took his place, posting a 2.71 GAA and .897 save percentage in 25 games.

The 25-year-old goaltender is expected to continue to serve as Chicago’s backup now that he’s re-signed.

  1. endusersolutions2013 - Jun 27, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    That unfortunately still leaves Morin, who I really hope they can not only sign, but actually use consistently. Sign Morin, waive Versteeg after seeing if they can get anything for him. Time to face up to the fact that they made a BAD trade.

    • comeonnowguys - Jun 27, 2014 at 11:14 AM

      Count me among the throng that was excited to get him back at the time but now counting the days until his contract expires.

      • no - Jun 27, 2014 at 11:29 AM

        *receives pass*….*falls down moving puck up to the point*….*breakaway ensues*

        rinse and repeat

    • tfilarski - Jun 27, 2014 at 12:11 PM

      #FreeMorin

  2. tfilarski - Jun 27, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    I wonder what Bowman has up his sleeve. Could he be in talks to secretly move Crawford?

    • hawksin5 - Jun 27, 2014 at 12:57 PM

      Now that would certainly be something. brought that up earlier in the week and got a lot of thumbs down. but it clears 6M, would fit a few teams need like a glove (VAN & Kesler) and i LOVED Raanta. who knows. would rather see Crawford off than Sharpie.

      • classicfinder - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:32 PM

        If Raanta takes another step forward, I could see Crawford going next season to make up for the Toews and Kane contract extensions. That would also allow them to pay Saad if he continues to blossom.

      • wjarvis - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:31 PM

        Per capgeek, Crawford’s contract does have a modified no trade clause, so even if the Hawks did want to move Crawford (I don’t think they do), they would be limited in what trades they could make.

        The Hawks are clearly not sold on Raanta as a starter, and the fact that he took a 20% pay cut means the rest of the NHL probably wasn’t either. He was a restricted free agent, but the value of his contract is low enough that if another team signed him to an offer sheet of the same value they wouldn’t have to give the Hawks any compensation.

      • tfilarski - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:49 PM

        Getting rid of Crawford definitely fits Bowman’s lack of respect for goalies (i.e. see ya Niemi) or maybe there is no lack of respect, he is just smarter than everyone and knows goalies have a short shelf life.

        I am sure I am not the only one that had his jaw drop when the Crawford’s contract was announced last off season, as it was totally out of Bowman’s MO.

  3. illogic87 - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    Thank you *sigh of relief* – Rest of central division

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