It's been two and a half weeks since the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup and since then they have been extremely busy. Not only have they been attending events showcasing the Stanley Cup, but the front office has also been making several moves.
Among the players that the Blackhawks have lost is goaltender Ray Emery. Emery left the Blackhawks for the Philadelphia Flyers where he signed a one year, $1.65 million deal. By making the move to Philadelphia, it allows Emery to compete for a starting job.
The Blackhawks also said goodbye to forwards Dave Bolland, Michael Frolik and Viktor Stalberg. Both Bolland and Frolik were traded on draft night for draft picks. Bolland was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs, while Frolik was sent to the Winnipeg Jets. The Blackhawks lost forward Viktor Stalberg through free agency to the Nashville Predators. The Predators signed Stalberg to a four year, $12 million contract.
Although the Blackhawks lost some players from the 2013 Stanley Cup roster, they also resigned many key players. Forward Bryan Bickell signed a four year, $16 million contract on draft night. Bickell received a big raise form his prior contract, due to his stellar play in the postseason. The Blackhawks also resigned forward Michal Handzus, as well as defensemen Nick Leddy and Michal Rozsival. Handus and Rozsival played important roles throughout the playoffs for the Blackhawks and look to continue their production heading into next season. Leddy had an up and down season that saw him lose playing time near the end of the playoffs. Leddy will look to regain the trust of Coach Joel Quenneville so he can find his way back on the ice.
Since the Blackhawks lost Emery and Antti Raanta is not ready yet, they needed to go out and get another goalie. The Blackhawks brought back veteran goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin on a one year deal. The 40-year-old Khabibulin, who played for the Blackhawks from 2005-2009, spent the last four seasons with the Edmonton Oilers. Khabibulin will be insurance for Corey Crawford heading into next season.
Finally, we can`t talk offseason without mentioning the draft. The Chicago Blackhawks selected forward Ryan Hartman with their first round pick. Forwards John Hayden, Tyler Motte, Luke Johnson and Anthony Louis were also drafted by the Blackhawks. The theme of the draft for the Blackhawks seemed to be Swedish defensemen. The Blackhawks selected three defensemen, Carl Dahlstrom, Robin Norell, and Robin Press, who are all Swedish. They all will most likely take some time developing their skills before fighting for a roster spot on the team.
As the Blackhawks' offseason continues they will continue to look for ways to make their team better. Forward Marcus Kruger is a restricted free agent and they are looking to sign him to an extension. Prospect camp is almost over and the Blackhawks scouting staff is evaluating the players. Since the Blackhawks are sitting with just over $2 million in cap space, they probably won't make a big splash in free agency but there are still some role players out there such as Mikhail Grabovsky and restricted free agent Adam Henrique.
Constant updates of the Blackhawks offseason moves will be posted here on Blackhawks 101. Also, come check out the site tomorrow when we introduce a new segment called "Friday Faceoff."
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