The Chicago Blackhawks announced Wednesday that Niklas Hjalmarsson agreed to a five year contract extension. The deal is worth an annual cap hit of $4.1 million, according to ESPN. His extension goes into effect for the 2014-15 campaign. His current deal carries a cap hit of $3.1 million.
Rejoice, as the raise for the 26-year old will look good as he continues to reach his prime. While Hjalmarsson will never score at the rate of a Duncan Keith or Brent Seabrook, his penchant to lock down scorers and block shots is invaluable.
Hjalmarsson was signed to his current deal after the 2010 Stanley Cup run, and his signing cost the team a chance at re-signing former goaltender Antti Niemi. A lot of fans and hockey minds disagreed with the choice, but “Hammer” has grown into a very good shutdown defenseman.
This signing, along with the Corey Crawford extension over Labor Day weekend, signals general manager Stan Bowman’s willingness to sign the core of the team long-term. As mentioned with the Crawford deal, Bowman’s spending spree may also lead to his knowledge of how much the salary cap could rise following the 2013-14 season.
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will be due new paper following the 2014-15 season, as well as Andrew Shaw after the upcoming season. It would be fair to say that all three will be given a fair raise. It would be tough to see stars like Toews and Kane being allowed to even test the free agency market.
Niklas Hjalmarsson is now locked in as the Blackhawks #3 defenseman until 2018-19, and all continues to be well on the west side of Chicago.
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