Blackhawks

Blackhawks lock up Joel Quenneville through 2019-20 season

coachquennevillepracticeslide.png

Blackhawks lock up Joel Quenneville through 2019-20 season

It wasn’t so much if coach Joel Quenneville’s extension was going to get done. It was when.

Quenneville, coming off his third Stanley Cup in his past six seasons here, still has two years on his current contract. On Tuesday, that expected extension came through.

The Blackhawks signed Quenneville to a three-year extension that will take him through the 2019-20 season. The team did not release financial terms of the deal; Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported the extension could be worth $18 million over those three years.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“Yeah, we’re happy,” said Quenneville, who is also one victory away from tying Al Arbour for the second-most coaching victories in NHL history (782). “We’re in a great spot here. It’s been a fun time and we have a fun situation going on here. We’ve having a good stretch here and look forward to try to continue on.”

General manager Stan Bowman talked in the offseason that a Quenneville extension as going to happen at some point.

“I think with any negotiation it takes a little bit of time, but I wouldn't say it was a really drawn-out thing,” he said. “We've got a great situation going here. We're fortunate to have Joel on board and he's been a huge part of what we've accomplished as a group, and there's no one more you'd want on the bench than Joel. So, we're looking for some continuity and we’ve had it here.

“I think it’s a testament to the job Joel's done in today's game,” Bowman continued. “It's tough for coaches to last, and I think certainly because of the accomplishments for the team, led by Joel, is a big part of it. We're excited for what's to come.”

The 57-year-old Quenneville took over the job on Oct. 16, 2008. The Blackhawks had a dynamic young team and the possibility to do something great. Still, there may not have been many who would have projected the Blackhawks to do what they’ve done these past few seasons. The core hasn’t changed much but the Blackhawks have otherwise gone through plenty of salary cap-related alterations. Yet they, and Quenneville, just keep winning.

“In your wildest dreams you wouldn’t have expected what happened to happen,” Quenneville said of when he first took over. “We improved as we were going through that year, got some good educations right off the bat and immediately won. It was a great beginning but [we have] a tremendous group to work with, knowing your leaders have that type of character you hope to have on your team. They send the right message and you couldn’t ask for a better situation to be in as a coach.”

Blackhawks players were happy to hear the news.

“First of all, he definitely deserves it with what he’s done with this franchise. He’s gotten the results and players like to play with him,” said Marian Hossa. “[He gives us] lots of days off; he’s really reasonable. But on the other hand he expects things. We’re happy for him and his new deal. I think it’s great for the city.”

[MORE - Marian Hossa relieved to snap scoring slump]

Trevor van Riemsdyk, who entered last training camp relatively unknown and earned a job on the starting lineup, agreed.

“I’ve only been here a short period of time but you see instantaneously why he’s such a great coach and why he’s been so successful,” he said. “I’ll be forever grateful for that chance to play right away. He had nothing but positive things to say and it meant a lot, especially coming from someone like coach Q who’s been through so much, coached so many players and has been so successful. I’m really happy for him.”

Quenneville has had some great coaching seasons, especially here in Chicago. Will he ever catch Scotty Bowman’s record of 1,244 all-time coaching victories? As Quenneville said with a grin, “it’s a stretch.” Quenneville isn’t much for looking too far down the path anyway. Right now, life and coaching is good. So is the added few years of security.

“I felt fortunate when I started that I’ve been around really good players, teams and situations, and none better than here in Chicago,” he said. “I’ve been some healthy situations where we’ve had success. It makes the job that much more enjoyable. There are always some tough situations over the course of the years but for the most part, it’s gone by extremely quick an that’s why it’s been so much fun.”

Getting to know four newly-signed Blackhawks

dominik_kahun_ap.jpg
AP

Getting to know four newly-signed Blackhawks

The Blackhawks announced Monday that they have officially agreed to terms with forward Dominik Kahun, defensemen Lucas Carlsson and Darren Raddysh and goaltender Kevin Lankinen on entry-level contracts.

Kahun ($925,000 cap hit), Lankinen ($925,000) and Raddysh ($730,000) each signed two-year deals that run through the 2019-20 season while Carlsson's is a three-year deal that runs through the 2020-21 campaign and carries a cap hit of $792,500.

So who are these guys? Let's meet them:

Carlsson

Drafted in the fourth round (No. 110 overall) by the Blackhawks in 2016, Carlsson set a career-high with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 44 games this season with Brynäs IF of the Swedish Hockey League. He was tied for fourth among all blue liners with seven goals.

Carlsson, 20, doesn't have major upside, but he's a reliable, well-rounded defenseman and that's what drew the attention of Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley.

“When he’s on the ice, he makes things happen," Kelley told Scott Powers of The Athletic last summer. "I think what impressed the Sweden under-20 coach was Lucas’ ability to challenge in all three zones. He’s an active defensively. Offensively, he challenges. He keeps plays alive.”

Kahun

The 22-year-old forward spent the last four seasons with EHC München of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, Germany's top professional hockey league, where he established career highs in assists (29), points (41) and tied a personal best with 12 goals, leading Munchen to their third straight championship in 2018 after recording four goals and 10 assists in 17 playoff contests.

He raised eyebrows at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, where he compiled five points (two goals, three assists) in seven games and won 55.4 percent of his faceoffs (41 of 74), helping Germany capture a silver medal.

“He has made an enormous step this year, has become much more stable and mature," German national team coach Marco Sturm said after the Olympics. "I am sure that he would grab it in the NHL,” Sturm told the Hamburger Morgenpost.

Most recently, Kahun had a goal and two assists in seven games for Germany during the IIHF Men's World Championship. He's 5-foot-11, 176 pounds whose known to be a solid two-way player and can play center but may need some time to adjust to the smaller ice surface and NHL style of speed and physicality.

Lankinen 

Lankinen is 23 years old and coming off a season in which he was in the discussion for the Urpo Ylönen trophy, annually awarded to the top goaltender of the Finnish Elite League, after registering a league-best 1.33 goals against average and .946 save percentage in 15 games with HIFK.

He missed a large portion of the season because of an injury, but it didn't stop him from turning in a strong postseason, guiding his team to a bronze medal after posting a 1.99 GAA and .936 save percentage in 13 playoff games. The year before that, he led the league with seven shutouts in 42 games, backstopping his team to a silver medal.

This is a low-risk, medium-sized reward signing for the Blackhawks, who could use some more young goaltending depth in the pipeline, especially given how this season unfolded with the big club.

Raddysh

The Blackhawks signed Raddysh to a one-year AHL contract last June, and he turned it into an NHL one after a strong season with the Rockford IceHogs.

Raddysh, 22, accumulated 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 66 regular-season games with the IceHogs, and has appeared in each of the team's playoff games en route to the Western Conference Final.

Last season Raddysh was named the OHL's top defenseman after scoring 16 goals and 65 assists for 81 points in 62 games for the Erie Otters, where he was teammates with current Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat. He's the Otters' all-time leader in assists (143) and points (184) among defensemen.

Raddysh might be nothing more than a depth defenseman, but his development is worth monitoring because the offensive production is there and that's something the Blackhawks lacked this past season from their back end.

Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa: 'I will not play hockey anymore'

marian_hossa_ap.jpg
AP

Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa: 'I will not play hockey anymore'

Days after putting his Gold Coast condo on the market, Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa revealed to a Slovakian newspaper that he is moving back to his hometown country and doesn't plan on returning to the NHL.

"I will not play hockey anymore," said Hossa, who missed the entire 2017-18 campaign due to a progressive skin disorder and the side effects of the medications involved to treat it. "I have a valid contract with Chicago for the next three years, but I have only one health and it does not allow me to return."

Because he has three years left on a deal that carries a $5.275 million cap hit, Hossa is not expected to sign his retirement papers until the contract is completed or else it would result in salary cap consequences.

The news is not surprising, but it officially allows the Blackhawks to move on without him in the fold roster-wise and toy around with some options this summer.

The first is stashing his contract on long-term injured reserve, as they did last season when they utilized the in-season preference.

The second, which Hossa wondered could happen, is finding a trade partner that would absorb the remainder of his contract, usually done by lower payroll teams aiming to reach the cap floor.

And it wouldn't be difficult trying to find a buyer, considering Hossa's actual salary is $1 million per year over the next three seasons. Hossa, of course, has a no movement clause but it's likely he would waive it given his status at this point.

The good news for Chicago is, the three-time Stanley Cup winner didn't rule out joining the Blackhawks organization in some capacity after his contract expires in 2020-21, whether it's in a front office role or as a team ambassador.

In 19 NHL seasons, Hossa accumulated 525 goals and 609 assists for 1,134 points in 1,309 regular-season games, and added 149 points (52 goals, 97 assists) in 205 postseason contests. He's one of 45 players in league history to net at least 500 goals in his career.