The Chicago Blackhawks announced early this morning that they have re-signed defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson aka “Hammer” to a 5 year contract extension.
“Hjalmarsson, a member of the 2010 and 2013 Stanley Cup Championship teams, registered five assists and shared sixth in the league with a postseason career-best +10 plus/minus rating in 23 playoff games en route to the 2013 Stanley Cup title. The Eksjo, Sweden, native tallied 10 points (2G, 8A) and shared 11th among NHL blueliners with a career-high +15 rating in 48 regular-season games.”
Hjalmarsson was slated to be a UFA at the end of this season so Bowman is being proactive in keeping the shot blocking Swede in a Chicago sweater.
“The 26-year-old Hjalmarsson, who was set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, has played in 306 career regular season games for the Hawks, scoring nine goals and picking up 47 assists over that span. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.”
Source: Madhouse Enforcer
Seems like the financial aspects of the deal are beginning to come out
Hjalmarsson deal with Hawks worth $4.1 M per year on average
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) September 4, 2013
Hjalmarsson is truly a defensive specialist and on a Blackhawks team that is loaded with offensive talent that is a plus. Hjalmarsson is a vital part on shutting down opposing teams top players and his play seems to escalate as the stakes get higher. If you remember the San Jose Sharks tried to lure Hjalmarsson away with a high offer three years ago but the Blackhawks matched to keep the Swedish defenseman here and basically chose him over Neimi.
I like this move to lock up a solid D-Man who is in his 20′s. Hjalmarsson is a team player and seems to get better every year as he has now settled into his role as a “shut down” defenseman.