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The Blackhawks announced three signings on Thursday that included their own coveted blue line prospect Ian Mitchell and a pair of free agents in defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk and forward Pius Suter.

Mitchell, of course, is the most notable name because of how highly the organization views him. Walynuk drew attention, too, for his strong junior season at Wisconsin, where he served as the team captain. Suter’s name flew a little bit under the radar at first glance, but that’s because he got lumped into a group.

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So let’s single him out because there’s a lot to like about what he could bring to the table.

Suter led all skaters in goals (30) and points (53) through 50 games last season in Switzerland's National League-A, where he was named league MVP. For reference, Dominik Kubalik registered 25 goals and 57 points in the same league prior to making the NHL jump with the Blackhawks. 

Suter is 24 years old and listed as a center and left winger, so he brings some versatility up front the Blackhawks always appreciate. He's on the smaller end at 5-foot-11, 176 pounds, but is known to be an effective two-way player and can clearly produce on offense.

Suter, who signed a one-year contract that carries an average annual value of $925,000, is not eligible for the 2019-20 season resumption, but he’s expected to compete for a roster spot next season. And there’s certainly a potential role for him as a middle-six forward if he can grab it.

 

According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, there were as many as nine NHL teams bidding for Suter’s services and the Blackhawks won out because of their successful track record with undrafted European players. But there’s also familiarity with assistant coach Marc Crawford, who was the head coach of the ZSC Lions during Suter’s rookie season in 2015-16.

The Blackhawks are going to be in a salary cap crunch for years to come, so locking up Suter for next season at a low cost is noteworthy and a big reason why the team was aggressive in their pursuit. It would be unreasonable to expect Suter to have the same Calder Trophy-type output as Kubalik in Year 1, but there’s potential for him to step in and make an impact right away.