Chicago must see something in Niklas Hjalmarsson because they’ve elected to match the four year $14 million offer sheet sent his way by the San Jose Sharks. The Blackhawks had seven days to match the offer sheet put forward by the Sharks and announced today that they were planning on it.
The Sharks were making the bold move for Hjalmarsson as a way to try to fill in the space left behind by Rob Blake and I had thought that the offer would be a sure thing in the face of the house-cleaning Hawks. But it looks like that’s not the case and the 23-year-old defenceman will be staying with the champs – at least for now.
Hjalmarsson was third on the Blackhawks in plus/minus with a +9 rating in the post-season. He also iced about 21 minutes a game, so Chicago’s clearly seeing him as a key component right now.
“We’ve been saying all along our goal is to keep our core together. We’ve been trying to hit that point and Niklas is part of that core. I think you win with defence. I think the success of our team is that we’ve got some very skilled forwards, but they also get the puck a lot. We want to keep that part of our game intact,” said GM Stan Bowman.
The Chicago Blackhawks have already sent off a number of key players from their Cup run, including Dustin Byfuglien, and this move by Bowman could be an ideological stand more than anything. As a way of saying that not all of his Blackhawks are for sale, holding on to Hjalmarsson could help put some faith in the players that they could be suiting up for another Cup run.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.