Ben Eager spent little time in between teams. The former Chicago Blackhawk is now a member of the Chicago Wolves. Eager is the third member of the 2009-10 Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks on the Wolves’ roster joining forward Colin Fraser and defenseman Brent Sopel.
A former 1st round pick of the Arizona Coyotes, Ben Eager is coming to Chicago after spending time with CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League in Europe. In five games overseas, Eager accrued zero points, two penalty minutes and a plus/minus of minus-one. Eager’s last stop in the NHL was with the Edmonton Oilers organization. He spent three seasons with the parent club and AHL affiliate Oklahoma City Barons between 2011-14.
In all honesty, Eager’s return to North America will probably benefit any short-term plans of continuing his career with the current economic issues in Russia. Majority of the KHL’s teams operate in Russia.
Chicago Wolves fans get to see another former Chicago Blackhawks player help contribute for the other local club. Colin Fraser signed with the St. Louis Blues in the offseason and has spent the 2014-15 season in the minors with Chicago. Brent Sopel signed with the Wolves after the season started. After the Chicago Blackhawks won the 2010 Stanley Cup, Eager and Sopel were shipped to Atlanta (now the Winnipeg Jets) in an offseason trade that landed the Hawks Jeremy Morin and the draft pick that turned into Kevin Hayes, among other players and picks.
What can fans expect from Ben Eager? Not much scoring, some fights, and a healthy dose of pestering opponents. Throughout Eager’s career, he has made a living of annoying other players, dropping the gloves, and contributing on a much smaller level than most. He scored the most goals in one season in his career (11) with Chicago the year prior to ending their 49-year Cup drought. Eager played 35 postseason games between 2008-10 as a member of the Hawks.
The style of play in the AHL is edgier. Most games have looser play and can see tempers flare. The Chicago Wolves have been looking for a little more size and grit to help protect their best players. The AHL has also installed new rules this past offseason, including a rule to curb fighting. Ben Eager will have to take notice.
Will Ben Eager be the addition the Wolves need to get over their recent losing ways? Who knows, but his infusion into the lineup will get his new teammates to see changes are always an option to a roster usually in flux.
The worst case for Chicago hockey fans is that they get to see one of the handful of players to help bring back the roar to the west side.
Jeff is a production assistant @120Sports and contributor to hockey, football, and baseball for The Sports Bank. Follow him on Twitter @skcih_ffej.
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