Blackhawks

Andreas Martinsen signs one-year extension with Blackhawks

Andreas Martinsen signs one-year extension with Blackhawks

After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008, the Blackhawks maintained some depth with the signing of a familiar face.

Forward Andreas Martinsen signed a one-year contract extension on Thursday morning that will keep him within Chicago's organization for another season.

The bruiser and eighth Norwegian-born NHL player only played in nine games with the Blackhawks last season and tallied one goal. But Martinsen provides assurance for the team and brings much needed aggression to the table, recording a team-high 35 hits during his brief tenure in the NHL this past season.

At 27 years old, Martinsen spent most of his time with the Blackhawks AHL affiliate last year, notching 12 goals and 16 assists in 64 appearances with the Rockford IceHogs during the regular season. The forward also contributed to Rockford's impressive Calder Cup Playoffs run to the Western Conference Finals with five total points in 13 games.

Most importantly, Martinsen's new contract helps the Blackhawks maintain a veteran player who can provide a spark of momentum for a team that finished with a losing record last season. The winger is also monstrous in size, standing at 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighing 229 pounds, which makes him the second tallest forward on the Blackhawks behind Artem Anisimov.

Before joining the Blackhawks in the beginning of 2017, the undrafted Martinsen previously played professionally in Germany and appeared in 64 combined games with the Colorado Avalanche and Montreal Canadians throughout the 2016-17 season. His professional experience is highlighted by 128 career games in the NHL and two postseason appearances with the Canadiens.

2020 NHL Draft: How Rangers getting No. 1 pick affects Blackhawks

2020 NHL Draft: How Rangers getting No. 1 pick affects Blackhawks

On Monday night, during Phase 2 of the NHL Draft lottery, the New York Rangers won the No. 1 overall pick for the 2020 NHL Draft.

Originally, the top pick went to a placeholder team during Phase 1 of the lottery in June. Eight of the teams eliminated during the Stanley Cup Qualifiers  Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets — would each have a 12.5% chance of walking away with the No. 1 pick.

New York grabbing the top pick affects the Hawks in a few ways. 

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First, Hawks fans can relax and enjoy the playoffs with their team in it as the Oilers didn't win the pick. Meaning, if the Oilers had won it, it would have belonged to the Hawks if the Oilers eliminated them in the qualifying round and not the other way around.

Second, the Blackhawks could now get the No. 16 or 17 overall pick if they lose to the Golden Knights in Round One of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, depending on the results of the Montreal Canadiens-Philadelphia Flyers series.  

The No. 1 pick of this year's draft is expected to be forward Alexis Lafrenière, who registered 35 goals and 77 assists for a league-leading 112 points in 52 games this season with the Rimouski Océanic of the QMJHL, where he also served as the team captain. 

So former Blackhawks winger Artemi Panarin — a Hart Trophy finalist this year with the Rangers — could have a young, skilled forward helping him generate even more offense for New York as early as next season.

Related: Why former Blackhawk Artemi Panarin should win the Hart Trophy

The 2020 NHL Draft is scheduled for Oct. 9 and 10. It was originally scheduled for June 26-27 in Montreal but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which paused the NHL on March 12.

Robin Lehner starting Game 1 for Vegas Golden Knights against Blackhawks Tuesday

Robin Lehner starting Game 1 for Vegas Golden Knights against Blackhawks Tuesday

Ahead of the start of Round One of the Stanley Cup Playoffs' matchup between the Vegas Golden Knights and Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer announced former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner will get the start in net for Vegas in Game 1 against his former team. 

The 2019 Vezina Trophy finalist was traded from Chicago to Vegas ahead of Feb. 24's trade deadline. He was 16-10-5 as a Hawk during the 2019-20 regular season with a 3.01 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage prior to the move.

Related: Former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner unveils new pads

Lehner was in net for the Knights' overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday in a round-robin contest to help Vegas grab the No. 1 seed in the West for Round One, pitting them against the Blackhawks, who were the No. 12 seed in the qualifying round and were reseeded to be No. 8 for Round One.

Following Saturday's game, Lehner was asked about facing the Blackhawks and his former goalie partner Corey Crawford and if playing with the Hawks earlier this season carries an advantage.

Related: Former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner's birthday cake is unreal

"I don't know. All I know is it's going to be fun playing them," Lehner said. "They're a very good hockey team and I have a lot of respect for them, the whole organization... but I think I really like it here (with Vegas), we're a great hockey team."

The 29-year-old netminder got off to a hot start with Vegas ahead of the NHL pause on March 12 going 3-0-0 with 1.67 goals-against average and .940 save percentage.

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