Blackhawks continue adding pieces in free agency
by Scott King
The Blackhawks may have disappointed in missing the last two postseasons, but give VP and GM Stan Bowman credit, he is addressing all the team’s needs this offseason.
First, Bowman upgraded Chicago’s defense by trading for Olli Maatta and Calvin de Haan, then on Free Agency Eve (Sunday) he traded for the triumphant return of Andrew Shaw, which bolstered down the bottom six, helped the power play and added another option up the middle.
Once the market opened up on Monday, Stan and the Hawks were again players, albeit small ones at first, but big time buyers before the day was done.
Former Vegas Golden Knights center Ryan Carpenter signed with Chicago and the Hawks gave forward David Kampf an extension.
Carpenter, 28, spent the last two seasons with Vegas and had five goals, 13 assists and won a career-best 52.6 percent of his faceoffs in 68 games last season. He had five assists during the Golden Knights’ 2018 playoff run that brought them all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
The Hawks locked up Carpenter for three years (through the 2021-22 season) at a $1,000,000 cap hit.
Kampf, who was originally signed as a free agent by the Blackhawks on May 1, 2017, got a two-year extension that runs through the 2020-21 season at a cap hit of $1,000,000. The 24-year-old had four goals and 15 assists in 63 games last season.
Since joining the Hawks, Kampf has mostly played center as well. In his rookie year, he had 11 points (four goals, seven assists) and won 53 percent of his faceoffs in 46 games with Chicago.
The biggest surprise of the day came when the Hawks signed goalie and 2019 Vezina trophy finalist Robin Lehner to a one-year deal for $5,000,000. The 27-year-old won 25 games, registered a 2.13 goals-against average, .930 save percentage and six shutouts last season with the New York Islanders.
Lehner could make quite the goalie tandem with two-time Stanley Cup champion Corey Crawford next season and could also take over if Crawford is injured again. Crawford has one year left on his contract at $6,000,000.
Free agents getting BREAD around the league
Former Hawk Artemi Panarin inked a deal giving him $81.5 million over seven years with the New York Rangers.
Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky got seven years at $10 million per year with the Florida Panthers.
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