The San Jose Sharks have signed restricted free agent Niklas Hjalmarsson, using an offer sheet to sign the former Chicago Blackhawk defenceman to a four year deal worth $14 million.
The Blackhawks do have seven days to match the offer. If they don’t match the deal, they’ll receive a first and a third round pick from the Sharks as compensation.
It looks like the Sharks are trying to fill the hole left behind by Rob Blake. Hjalmarsson isn’t exactly thought of as a top defender in the National Hockey League, but the 23-year-old does have some skill and the confidence of Sharks GM Doug Wilson.
“We feel Niklas is a top-three defenceman in the National Hockey League,” Wilson said. “We saw his abilities firsthand in the playoffs last season and he was an important piece of a Stanley Cup-winning team. He is a solid player that would be a good fit on our team now and in the future.”
The situation is reflective of the troubles in Chicago with the salary cap. It’s unlikely that the Blackhawks will be too interested in dealing with Hjalmarsson and we can essentially consider him a Shark. They have a reasonably full defensive roster as it is and probably won’t be too keen on sending any more money his way.
Hjalmarsson is coming off his first full NHL season. He finished with two goals and 15 assists in 77 games.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.