Blackhawks

Ryan Garbutt steps up in Blackhawks win over Lightning

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Ryan Garbutt steps up in Blackhawks win over Lightning

The Blackhawks said they're going to need help from "a little bit of everyone" in Duncan Keith's absence, not just on defense.

On Saturday, it was Ryan Garbutt who noticeably stepped up in the Blackhawks' 1-0 overtime win over the Tampa Bay Lighting in a rematch of last year's Stanley Cup Final, providing a spark on the third line.

"I thought he had a really good game," coach Joel Quenneville said after the game. "Much more speed, much more puck possession. That line was a factor as the game progressed."

Garbutt, who was a healthy scratch last week against Washington, logged 9 minutes, 51 seconds of ice time — his third-lowest of the season — against the Lightning, but his impact was far greater.

[MORE: Five Things - Blackhawks patience proves pivotal]

In his previous six games, Garbutt had recorded a total of 11 shots on goal. He also had just two combined shots in his last three games. On Saturday alone, he registered six, all of which came in the first two periods.

"It was just one of those games where there were a lot of chances," Garbutt said. "Unfortunately I couldn't get one past (Lightning goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis), but I feel like the more chances I get, the better I play."

Garbutt, who was acquired from the Dallas Stars in the offseason for Patrick Sharp, admitted he's still trying to get accustomed to playing the Blackhawks' style of play, but on a night they committed four penalties for the second straight game, he proved to be valuable on both special teams and even strength.

"Huge," Jonathan Toews, who scored the game-winning goal 17 seconds into overtime, responded when asked about Garbutt's — and other newcomer Artem Anisimov's — performance. "It's nice to have those two extra guys skating and playing smart defensively in the rotation. I think it keeps more guys involved in the game and obviously a game like tonight, or even the last one against Florida, where we ran into some penalty trouble, we keep our legs fresh when we're (on the penalty kill) and we go back to 5-on-5 too, so those guys have been huge for us so far."

Without Keith, who's expected to miss four-to-six weeks after having surgery to repair a right meniscal tear, the Blackhawks held the Florida Panthers, who were averaging nearly 30 shots per game entering Thursday, to a season-low 18 shots on goal and followed that up by shutting out the reigning Eastern Conference champions, who entered Saturday tied for the sixth-most goals scored and the eighth-ranked power play, picking up exactly where they left off last June.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Not a bad response for a team that lost their ironman on the blue line.

But Garbutt, who knows just how important Keith is on defense despite not being a part of last year's Stanley Cup run, won't take credit for it all.

"I think it's everyone stepping up, forwards and the (defense)," Garbutt said. "We've got guys playing big minutes back there. (Trevor van Riemsdyk) is playing great and getting better every game; same with (Viktor) Svedberg. All those guys are just picking up the slack and everyone's been working a little bit harder."

While he didn't have anything to show for it, Garbutt is slowly finding his rhythm and will look to build off arguably his best performance in a Blackhawks uniform yet.

"It's not easy to score in the National Hockey League," he said. "You've got to make sure to take advantage of your opportunities. I feel like I'm getting better every game."

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.