Blackhawks

Blackhawks: van Riemsdyk's 'whirlwind' season ends on high note

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Blackhawks: van Riemsdyk's 'whirlwind' season ends on high note

Trevor van Riemsdyk had the same broad smile on his face at the Blackhawks’ exit interviews as he had in training camp back in September.

The 23-year-old defenseman went through the highs and lows of his first professional season, from making the team and earning coach Joel Quenneville’s trust to suffering two devastating injuries, first to his knee and then to his wrist. Yet there he was, playing in the Blackhawks’ last Stanley Cup Final games. Now van Riemsdyk will have his day with the Cup and then spend the summer training to see what he can bring to the Blackhawks in his second year.

[MORE: For champion Blackhawks, it was all about the journey]

Van Riemsdyk got to be part of the Blackhawks’ third Cup of the past six seasons on Monday and took in everything from the Wrigley Field visit to the Soldier Field rally. It was a happy ending for a player who had to keep his chin up through most of his injury-riddled season.

“Hanging with the family, the team, getting to go to Wrigley with the Cup, there was a lot of fun,” van Riemsdyk said. “It’s definitely been a whirlwind.”

Van Riemsdyk was a surprise out of last season’s training camp. This year, he won’t be. The Blackhawks got a glimpse of what he could do before he was hurt, and Quenneville liked what he saw. As long as all goes well, van Riemsdyk should have a great opportunity this fall.

“Yeah, that’s the goal, to have a good summer, to get all these injuries and stuff taken care of 100 percent and come back even stronger than I was at the start of this year,” he said. “It’ll be a fun training camp to come and show them what I can do and go from there.”

[SHOP BLACKHAWKS: Get your 2015 Stanley Cup champs gear right here]

Will van Riemsdyk have an even bigger opportunity this fall? He was slotted in the 5-6 spots last year, and his presence made the loss of Nick Leddy easier to take. The Blackhawks’ defensive depth, however, could be a lot different in a few months. The Blackhawks probably won’t be able to re-sign Johnny Oduya. Who knows if Michal Rozsival, another free agent, re-signs.

Van Riemsdyk isn’t reading too much into a roster that is undecided. He broke through in a season he wasn’t expected to be on the radar. He’ll take advantage of whatever comes his way next fall.

“It’s exciting to look at that and see how some things may fall,” van Riemsdyk said. “You never know, but it’s definitely exciting to know your role may be expanded. But it’s up to me to show them I can handle that and deserve more responsibility.”

Getting to know four newly-signed Blackhawks

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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'

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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.