The hits just keep on coming. After signing goaltender Corey Crawford to a new 6-year, $36 million deal Monday, the Blackhawks announced they've signed defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to new a 5-year, $20.5 million contract (according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.)
To get a defenseman like Hjalmarsson for a $4.1 million cap hit is highway robbery for Stan Bowman. If you look at CapGeek.com's list of cap hits among defensemen, Hjalmarsson comes in right under Florida's Ed Jovonovski and right above Calgary's Mark Giordano. That sounds about right, doesn't it?
Hjalmarsson's value to the Blackhawks may be even greater than it may look on paper. The Hawks d-corps, with the exception of Brent Seabrook and Hjalmarsson, is made up of smallish, speedy, mobile puck movers. Michal Rozsival fills that role when he's in the lineup, but he's not in the long term plans. Locking up Hjalmarsson ensures that the physical and shot blocking side of the game is addressed and insured for the foreseeable future.