Blackhawks sign two forwards after trading for two defensemen
The Blackhawks made their first free-agent acquisitions Monday, signing forwards Mattias Janmark and Lucas Wallmark to one-year contracts.
Janmark, who signed for $2.25 million, scored a total of 34 goals during the 2015-16 and 2017-18 campaigns, but managed just 12 over the last two seasons. He missed the 2016-17 season due to osteochondritis dissecans in his knee.
Wallmark ($950,000 cap hit) scored 12 goals in 67 games for the Hurricanes and Panthers last season.
The reconfiguring of the Hawks' roster got started in earnest with the departure of Corey Crawford last week, and the trade of Brandon Saad and Dennis Gilbert to Colorado for defensemen Nikita Zadorov and Anton Lindholm on Sunday.
Here's a look at the four new players.
Soon after news broke on the trade, Patrick Kane sent Zadorov a text.
"He said he's really excited that he doesn't have to play against me anymore," said the 6-foot-6, 235-pound Russian. "I feel like it's a really good thing to hear from one of the best players in the world."
Zadorov was the 16th overall pick by Buffalo in 2013. He played 67 games for the Sabres, but was sent to the Avs as part of a five-player trade in June 2015.
He became a staple on Colorado's blue line the last four seasons, averaging nearly 18½ minutes. Zadorov hasn't produced much offensively -- managing just 22 goals and 53 assists in 356 contests -- but he believes that may change under coach Jeremy Colliton.
"(He) told me he's really excited to see me," said Zadorov, who first saw an NHL game at the United Center when he was 12. "He wants me to play big minutes.
"He wants to bring me to the next level of (being) a shutdown 'D'. Also (be a) puck-mover and play in all situations on the ice. So I'm really excited.
"They said they're gonna do whatever it takes to open up all my potential."
Zadorov will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights after the season.
Dallas Stars' Mattias Janmark (13) plays against the Boston Bruins during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020.
- Associated Press
The Swede was a third-round pick of Detroit in 2013, but began his career with the Stars where he scored 15 times in 2015-16. After sitting out the next season, Janmark pumped in 19 more goals.
His role changed after a sluggish start to the 2018-19 campaign.
"(Ken) Hitchcock ... really trusted me (in 2017-18) and I played heavy minutes and a lot on the PK and power play," said Janmark, who had 7 assists during the Stars' run to the Stanley Cup Final earlier this month. "Then we switched coaches again and I had a rough start the first 10 games. ... Since then, I didn't really get back to where I was before offensively."
A funny thing happened along the way, though, with Janmark saying he has "become a much more reliable player and a better player" all over the ice.
While Jeremy Colliton and GM Stan Bowman have made no promises, Janmark is hoping to get more opportunity with the Hawks.
"I hope to play a lot and play offensive minutes," Janmark said. "But they said they needed some help on the PK and that's what I've been doing mostly in Dallas, so I'll do that for sure. But I hope to get my offensive game going and hopefully I'll play up in the lineup."
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Anton Lindholm (54) in the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Denver.
- Associated Press
A fifth-round pick in 2014, Lindholm played 48 games for the Avs in 2017-18 but has spent most of the last two seasons in the AHL. The Swede is a left-shot defenseman who hopes "a new set of eyes" will help turn his career around.
"A big thing for me is to probably contribute more on the offensive side of the puck," said Lindholm, who had just 2 goals and 9 assists in 102 AHL games the last two seasons. "I feel like my defensive skill and play is good enough."
If nothing else changes, Lindholm would battle for a roster spot with Ian Mitchell, Nicolas Beaudin, Nick Seeler, Wyatt Kalynuk and Lucas Carlsson.
Carolina Hurricanes' Lucas Wallmark (71) waits for a face-off against the Winnipeg Jets during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.
- Associated Press
The 25-year-old Swede was a fourth-round pick of Florida in 2014. He played 81 games for the Hurricanes in 2018-19, scoring 10 goals and dishing out 18 assists while averaging nearly 15 minutes of ice time.
Wallmark scored 11 times in 60 games for Carolina last season before being traded to Florida.
Expect the 6-foot, 178-pound center to compete for a third- or fourth-line role. He's won 50.9% of his 2,009 career faceoffs.