It's been a busy last couple weeks for the Blackhawks, who parted ways with franchise goaltender Corey Crawford and two-time Stanley Cup champions Olli Maatta and Brandon Saad and brought in defenseman Nikita Zadorov via trade and forward Mattias Janmark via free agency.
The moves signal a clear youth movement by the organization, but also appears to be financially-driven. Crawford, Maatta and Saad had a combined $16 million cap hit last season and the Blackhawks needed to move money out with the salary cap ceiling staying at $81.5 million for at least next season.
Zadorov, 25, signed his qualifying offer of $3.2 million that runs through the 2020-21 season while Janmark, 27, inked a one-year, $2.25 million contract. That's a combined cap hit of $5.45 million between the two of them.
But what are the Blackhawks getting in each of those players and where could they fit into the lineup?
Zadorov recorded 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 64 games last season for the Colorado Avalanche but he's not known for his offensive production. His game is predicated on being a shutdown defenseman and someone that's difficult to play against. After all, he is a 6-foot-5, 230-pound blue liner who averaged 17:46 of ice time and led the Avalanche with 175 hits.
Zadorov said in a video conference call on Monday that he spoke with head coach Jeremy Colliton about his potential role with the team and how he may fit into the lineup.
"He wants me to play me big minutes – that’s what he said," Zadorov said. "He wants to bring me to the next level of the shutdown D. Also, puck mover and I’ll play in all sorts of situations on the ice. So I’m really excited. He said pretty much going there to do whatever it takes to open up my potential that I still have."
With Janmark, the Blackhawks are getting a bottom-six forward who can play center or wing and kill penalties. The 27-year-old Swedish native had 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in 62 games last season for the Dallas Stars and added eight points (one goal, seven assists) in 26 postseason contests.
Janmark said he had a conversation with Colliton and GM Stan Bowman and revealed "they weren't promising anything" as far as where he could play in the lineup but said "that's what I like."
"They see me as a good two-way player and feeling something they were lacking last year," Janmark said. "As far as my role goes, I just hope I'm in there and play good and earn it. I hope to play a lot and play offensive minutes, 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."
Janmark said he believes he can still be an effective offensive player in the right situation, but acknowledged he's evolved into more of a defensive specialist as the years have gone on.
"I do consider myself — going back to Sweden, before I came over here — I've been a defensive player that takes care of the defensive end first," Janmark said. "But I do consider myself an offensive player and the last two years really hasn't shown. But I'm really hoping to get some confidence back in the offensive zone and get that game going a little bit more, because that's how I want to play. ... Hopefully get to play with some good players that help me out offensively and I can help them out defensively too."