After three seasons in college, Chad Krys has decided to turn pro. The 20-year-old defenseman agreed to terms with the Blackhawks on a three-year, entry-level contract that runs through the 2021-22 season and carries an $853,333 cap hit.
Krys will report to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League, where he will finish out the season. His deal kicks in next year, where he can earn up to $132,500 in performance bonuses and $82,500 the following season, according to puckpedia.com.
A second-round pick (No. 45 overall) in 2016, Krys accumulated 58 points (20 goals, 38 assists) in 105 games at Boston University. He served as an alternate captain during his junior season, and scored a career-high eight goals in 30 games.
In July, Krys said he felt like returning to college was best for his development in the bigger picture.
"I mean, look if I could play in the NHL right now I'd love to," Krys said at Blackhawks development camp. "But for me I think it's important that I'm taking the right steps. I want to make that jump when I feel like I'm going to be able to play in the NHL. My two years at BU has really benefitted me. Going back there and playing a lot and take it year by year. There's a lot of defensemen in this organization and we'll see what happens. I want to keep getting better, but for right now I'm just kind of focused on this year, and we'll decide what's going on after this."
Nicolas Beaudin, Adam Boqvist, Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell are known to be the Big Four defensemen prospects that the Blackhawks are high on, and the blue line in Rockford is crowded, too. So Krys has his work cut out for him.
But getting a head start with the IceHogs and making a strong early impression — perhaps even in the Calder Cup playoffs — could help serve as a nice building block going into next season.
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