NHL: Chicago Blackhawks Championship Celebration

New Day, New Papers – Niklas Hjalmarsson Signs 5-Year Extension

Preferring to work under the cover of darkness, we’ve once again awoken to the news that Stan Bowman has signed another member of the Hawks to a contract extension while you peacefully slumbered.

Yet again, this contract goes out to one of the Hawks who is not without a bit of controversy, Niklas Hjalmarsson. While he hasn’t sparked quite the debate like our on-going love affair with goalies, Hammer has certainly had his detractors… and we’ve certainly been among them. Hammer followed up the solid 2010 run with a major dip in his game in 2010-11. We assumed he’d be among the first traded away following that year, even though he had a slight return to form the following year.

This past year though, Hammer exceeded our expectations and arguably took over the top defensive pairing when he was partnered with the inexplicably Swedish Johnny Oduya. He had patience we hadn’t seen in a while, a willingness to hold the puck longer or skate it out on his own to make sure he made the right play, rather than blindly flinging it up along the boards as was his pervious go to move.

Reports are that Hammer’s deal will be a $4.1 cap hit/year, which actually makes the signing pretty damn reasonable. The contract comes as a bit of a shock in its element of surprise. But the friendly cap hit puts Hammer in the same company as players like Vlasic, Shattenkirk, Jovanovski or Ehrhoff. All of whom I’d gladly pass over to keep Hjalmarsson, especially if he can continue to grow and improve his game. 

  • cliffkoroll

    Attaboy Stan!

  • Hawkeytalk

    Jelly is now officially in The Core(R). Boy, next off season is going to be BORING.

    • StealingHappyHour

      They could end up extending 19 & 88 early. Who knows.

      • lizmcneill

        Ya think? I’m thinking they get signed asap for as much home discount as Stan can get out of them. Then he probably hangs on and crosses his fingers none of the RFAs has a career year and the cap goes up.

        • 10thMountainFire

          Identical $100 million+ deals?

          What do we think the market value is for those two at the moment? Do we have the personal courage to actually consider real market value?

          • jhb

            I think they get identical deals again but more like 8.5-8.75 a year for max length. That would put them above the duo in Anaheim and slightly below that of the two in Pittsburgh. If Stan is suddenly dumb enough to wait until other teams can bid, they’d both make 9+ each … in different cities.

          • lizmcneill

            Seems legit.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            Yikes, eh? Gotta figure it’ll be in the realm of Perry and Getzlaf. Fairly comparable situation.

          • Why

            Fairly comparable. But if I heard tomorrow that the Blackhawks had traded Toews for either Perry or Getzlaf, I’d be pissed off. And I think Anaheim fans would be very pumped.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            Definitely.

          • Why

            That’s my thing. They’re comparable in every sense but two: Toews and Kane have been better and will be younger when the extensions kick in.

            EDIT: In other words, if we’re talking fair market value with a slightly higher cap (I’d have to check that), Perry and Getzlaf are the “floor” of what Kane and Toews should get.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            Good point … I hadn’t actually considered that.

          • Why

            C’mon hometown discount. That Crawford contract was for your benefit, boys.

          • lizmcneill

            I’m hoping Kaner will go for 8×8 for his number, although 8.8×8 would be closer to what he could get on the market.

          • Black JEM

            I thought only 8.8×7.

          • Accipiter

            8 if you stay with the team you already had a contract with. Getzlaf and Perry both signed 8 year extensions.

          • Black JEM

            Yeah but going on the market means you can only get it for 7 years. I probably just looked at the market meaning going somewhere else. Somewhere else probably cannot do a max deal at the same value as the Hawks can. I see Toews staying here through the end as long as the hawks don’t try and screw him,which doesn’t appear to be their MO at this time.

          • Accipiter

            Ahhh, I didn’t read your response correctly.

          • lizmcneill

            Ah, good point.They’d have to pay him 9.1 per to be the same as 8*8 from Chicago. OUR NUMBER IS SHINIER, KANER.

          • Why

            In answer to your last question, no.

      • 10thMountainFire

        I am starting to think that just may happen.

    • CozBullsFan

      Boring is ok by me!

    • VanDorp’sMullet

      Hopefully there will be more parades to attend.

    • Why

      Wow. 14 players signed for 2014, 60 million in salary committed. No backup goalie, seven forwards. I’m happy to keep Hjalmarsson too but I do think that will be an interesting offseason.

  • CozBullsFan

    Haha to all the people that said Hammer was gone after next year.

    • bennicksic

      I said that but not bc I wanted to happen. haha indeed

    • Waylon

      yep, the joke’s on me, no question. I thought after Crow’s contract that he was a goner for sure.

      • 10thMountainFire

        I am also guilty of this.

        • Black JEM

          Stan obviously thinks that the cap is going way up – must be privy to the early discussions on the canadian TV deal.

    • Nagelbett

      And to all the posts now saying Kane won’t be able to be re-signed next year.

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    Stan wants to get out in front of his own UFA signings before the next wave of rock stupid contracts hits the NHL next July. I almost expect to hear of DDN being extended before Free Agency hits next summer (like around draft day).

    This nicely reverses the trend of “Paid Bicks a half million too much and paid Crow a million and a half too much.”

    • lizmcneill

      Whatever day free agency opens next year, yeah.

    • Waylon

      I think it’s not just getting ahead of idiotic GM’s waiting to pounce, but also that the Blackhawks must have a very strong sense of how much the cap is going on in the ensuing years. So if this is a case of getting something reasonable while at the same time preparing to have even more cap space than previously planned, more power to them. It may also reflect a lack of confidence in our D – Man prospects, but it’s probably too soon to tell.

    • 10thMountainFire

      I love you.

    • MySpoonIsTooBig

      DDN cannot be re-signed until July 1, 2014. They’re both under contract through the 2014-15 season and contract extensions cannot be signed more than 1 year before a player is set to hit free agency. I do fully expect though to hear of extensions for both players very early next summer, perhaps even on July 1

  • Stockroom Snail

    Is today the Blackhawks convention or something? I thought that was the only time these deals got announced.

  • Why

    Just so I’m ready for tomorrow, should I expect to hear that both Brookbank and Shaw are extended or just one of them?

    • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

      I’ve read that we’re going after Parise and Suter.

      • Accipiter

        Hit refresh.

    • putmeinthemadhouse

      Brandon pirri signs 4 year deal valued at 16mil

      • 10thMountainFire

        Imagine what Saad could command in a few years…

        • Joe Banks

          Kneel before SAAD.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Or at least before his bank account in a few years…

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Or keel before Saad.

  • Bobby Otter

    Love this deal. Really hard to find anything bad to say about it imo.

    • 10thMountainFire

      “I really like playing for Chicago. I’ve been here my whole career overseas and it pretty much feels like home. To imagine playing for a different team is tough for me because I feel so much for the city and the team… It’s been a pretty unbelievable summer, that’s for sure. It’s going to be tough to top this one. There’s been a lot of celebrating, a lot of fun stuff going on. I’m really excited with extension here, and I’m looking forward to next season. I love the city, I love the people in Chicago, they’re really friendly. Playing in the United Center in front of 23,000 people every game, it’s really inspiring. On top of that, we have a good team that can compete for the Cup every year. I really wanted to stay in Chicago and really glad I got opportunity to do that.”

      Ok, so yeah this got me looking at the clock again. Can’t wait for the season now.

      • lizmcneill

        I love Toftbo so much. (always did, this just confirms it)

      • Hawkeytalk

        You know, jelly may have seen the handwriting on the wall a year or so ago – shape up or ship out. So he changed his game, becomes a major part of a cup winning group and he gets rewarded with a new 5 year deal.

        Bolly, why u no see handwriting too?

        • Waylon

          I believe that Bolland was just too injury – prone, and rarely felt like himself out there.

          • Black JEM

            At one point during the CBC broadcast of game 7, the announcer commenting on players playing hurt notes that – as Bolland touches the puck – he may be the only one getting healthier.

        • justforkicks

          he was too busy trying to play with kane and sharp and being hurt

  • 10thMountainFire

    Pure fucking bargain. Well done, Stan.

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    It’s the Bickel Effect: Sign them before they have their big option year and the price doubles.

    One last salvo re the Crawford Deal. It lack a NMC. If Crow tanks, StanBo will find someone willing to take a Cup winning Goalie off his hands for the 6 MM cap hit and a first round pick.

  • Preacher

    I keep looking for the “release valve” in all of this. If Crow and Hammer are now part of The Core (TM), who’s out? Someone’s gotta go, right? In two years when they have to make room for 19/88, will it be Sharp? Hossa? Or are we expecting an 80 million dollar cap?

    • 10thMountainFire

      I was just discussing that with a friend. I think Hoss retires in 1-2 years.

      • Preacher

        While I know his deal was frontloaded in terms of actual payout, that’s still a lot of scratch to walk away from.

        • Why

          I guess the issue is that he’s “only” walking away from 8 million over five years. I’m very concerned that rich KHL owner #3 or #4 can beat that deal.

          • birdhead

            No way is Marian Hossa finishing his career in the KHL. Right?

          • Why

            Eh? Bad back, recent history of other injuries, etc. I don’t have an inside line on Hossa’s thought process, but way more money for playing in a glorified rec league might eventually look like a viable idea.

          • birdhead

            A bad back and an injury history is part of what makes me think he wouldn’t go to the KHL. They don’t have good medical facilities and I really doubt their contracts are guaranteed.

            On top of that, he (theoretically, at least) can’t walk out on an NHL contract to play in the KHL. So he either waits until his current contract is over, or he gets the Hawks to release him in a mutually-agreed situation a la Kovalchuk – but unlike Kovalchuk, if Hossa does that the Hawks take a major cap penalty, so I don’t see why the Hawks would agree to it.

            If he’s playing anywhere in the later years of that deal, I think it’s the NHL. But, sadly, I think it’ll be a Pronger situation. (Which, reminder, is not cap circumvention, because he is genuinely still injured. I’m really not hoping for that for Hossa and would sincerely rather have him on the payroll, which in the later years of the deal is probs going to be a cap penalty if he’s playing or not, let’s be honest.)

          • Why

            I’m not an expert on the Russian medical system but I’d think $500,000 per year would buy a pretty solid insurance package. And I think $500,000 per would be low compared to the extra money he could make. And it’s that “theoretically” part that makes me a bit nervous.

            But your last paragraph is an interesting one. Hossa and the Blackhawks are in the unique situation where, even if the LTIR stash doesn’t work, the Hawks would probably be happy to pay him $1,000,000 to fly around with the team and sit in the press box in 2020-2021.

          • birdhead

            but are they gonna be happy to do that while he takes up cap space?

          • Why

            If the options are let him retire (4.5 million cap penalty) or pay the man (1 million dollars), I think they’d be happy with the result. That’s just a plan B if LTIR doesn’t work.

          • lizmcneill

            but his cap hit is still 5.3M, it’s constant throughout the contract. As long as he’s willing to play and is better value than a minimum-wage player it’s better for the cap if he’s playing. If he can’t play at all then at least him retiring frees up cap space for a warm body for the roster.

          • Why

            Went for a walk and realized it when I was away from an internet connection. I don’t know how I managed to confused salary and cap hit but I did do it. You and Birdhead are right on the fact that “Hossa retire” is better for the cap than “Hossa sit”.

          • lizmcneill

            and neither of them are particularly awesome. Crow had better stay a decent starter and Keith age well (a 39-yo dman is less of a problem than a 42-yo forward, but if he loses his speed his game and the Hawks’ transition game are both going to suffer badly), or we might be seeing Isles-esque cap hell. :(

      • Paul the Fossil

        That seems possible yea, though hard to predict or count on in advance.

        2 or 3 years ago would the management have considered Bolland as part of the Core?

        In any case Bowman has so far done a fine job of both identifying who should be considered core (e.g. how many of us a year or two ago thought Hammer should be given up on?) and keeping that group together. If there is one subject area where he’s earned some trust it’s this.

      • MySpoonIsTooBig

        If that happens the ‘Hawks are getting bent over a barrel thanks to the cap recapture penalties. Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that Hossa decides to retire after the 2015-16 season, the last season before his salary starts to come down (it goes from $7.9M to $4M, then 4 years at $1M). That would mean he’d played 7 years of his 12-year contract and earned a total of $55.3M. However, he would have accounted for only a cumulative $36.925M against the cap ($5.275M x 7 years), meaning the ‘Hawks would have enjoyed a total cap savings of $18.375M for which they’d be penalized. That would mean that, for each of the next 5 years the ‘Hawks would carry a penalty of $3.675M against the cap. Though the cap is going up, that’s still a shitty deal for the ‘Hawks

        • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

          It depends on what you mean by shitty. It would be shitty for everyone, I agree, but it would be entirely deserved.

          • MySpoonIsTooBig

            Disagree that it’s deserved. In fact, I think it’s complete and utter horseshit. I fully agree with the league taking steps to eliminate cap-circumventing contracts by putting limits on contract length and year-to-year / overall salary variance, but punishing teams and players for contracts they signed which were perfectly legal and within the scope of the then-current CBA is ludicrous.

            Retroactively punishing actions that were perfectly acceptable at the time is bullshit. It’d be like breaking up with your girlfriend / boyfriend sleeping with someone else when said act of “cheating” took place before you’d even met.

          • Preacher

            The slut!

          • Why

            It was with my Dad. I should have been notified before, Selma.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            For me, it depends on what your impression of creeping through loopholes is. I think it was purely, 100 percent, a cap-circumventing contract. Hossa had no intention of playing out the contract imo, nor did Hawks management imagine that he would (and my suspicion is that they likely even discussed it).

            I realize it was, technically speaking, legal. But I don’t mind getting slammed, and I do think it was deserved. It’s cool that we disagree, I can definitely see your perspective. But everyone in the NHL knew what these contracts were, everyone knew the league would react as it did, and everyone knew it would be addressed when the new CBA came in. They took the risk, imo, and got slapped.

            But hey, it paid off, it helped us get two Cups. Worth the penalty in my books, but still deserving of punishment.

          • Z-man19

            It’s cool that we disagree, I can definitely see your perspective

            What is this BS? It’s not cool and you both should be angry, it’s much more fun that way

          • Why

            How dare you be against civilized discourse, you fucking fuck.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            I sent him a personal email calling attention to that line as poorly written sarcasm and then I called him a Capital-A Asshole. Then he emailed me back and mysteriously told me that he likes fucking watermelons. I’ve been trying to take a screen capture of the email and post it as as evidence. But that’s why I haven’t attacked him more publicly … been trying to work out that posting-a-jpeg thing.

          • birdhead

            psst … ctrl+PrtSc.

          • MySpoonIsTooBig

            What the fuck man? I told that to you in confidence

          • Why

            I’ll add the fact that the contract was approved by the league. And the fun part is that Bettman and the gang don’t appear to be learning from what I would consider a mistake. No one appears to have any clue how the LTIR is going to work in the future and it appears we’re going to be right back in the same situation.

        • Why

          So, Hawks would have about 1.5 million in cap room with which to “replace” Hossa. In related news, Ryan Jones’s deal was for 1.5 million in Edmonton.

    • birdhead

      If they seriously think Bickell is ready to be a top-6 forward, and if Saad takes another step this year, left wing starts to look crowded.

      :(

  • Research Analysis

    I think that the core, esp. Kane and Toews, are absolutely committed to staying members of the core and will play for less in Chicago than they could make in Montreal, Buffalo, etc. You don’t win two cups in four years without exceptional team chemistry. Management has created such a positive environment in the past decade that players will do anything to stay together, knowing that even after their playing careers, they will be highly respected by the team and the city and can have a long, profitable post-hockey life.

    • ballyb11

      Buffalo and Winnipeg are going to throw “billions” at those two guys.

  • ballyb11

    Make sure you are seated everyone. Hold on tight……
    I am not wottied about this.

    • ballyb11

      Or worried.

      • DesertHawk

        :dies:

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    Good on Hammer. That goal he scored to win game 7 v Detroit was awesome.

    Yeah, I know, but fuck Walkom and his whistle. That was still the prettiest point shot I have ever seen in my life.

  • 2883

    Shattenkirk is going to be an elite offensive force in the league. He’s more like Keith than Hammer. That said, SAH dmen that play as sound as Hammer did are worth 4.1