The Blackhawks are bringing back defenseman Erik Gustafsson on a one-year deal that carries a cap hit of $800,000. The team made it official on Monday morning. He signed a professional tryout contract with the New York Islanders going into training camp and turned in a strong showing.
Gustafsson, 29, registered 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) in 29 combined games last season with the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens. He also recorded three points (one goal, two assists) in 16 postseason contests.
Gustafsson spent his first four NHL seasons in Chicago, where he compiled 116 points (28 goals, 88 assists) in 214 games. His best season came in 2018-19 when he had 17 goals and 43 assists for 60 points in 79 games.
The injuries to Caleb Jones (wrist) and Wyatt Kalynuk (ankle) have put the Blackhawks in a complicated spot financially going into the regular season, which explains the Gustafsson signing at close to the league minimum. He can be a third-pairing defenseman and serve as a power-play specialist, where he thrived in his first stint with the Blackhawks.
Opening Night rosters are due by Monday. The Blackhawks have less than 24 hours to submit their official roster and become cap compliant.