29-Year-Old Defenseman – Chicago Blackhawks
Niklas Hjalmarsson Contract Information:
Signed a five-year, $20.5 million extension with the Blackhawks in September of 2013. The extension will not take effect until the 2014-15 season, since Hjalmarsson still has one year remaining on his previous contract.
Hjalmarsson will get the night off Friday when the Blackhawks take on the Red Wings, Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Hjalmarsson might be considered the third defenseman on the Hawks, but that's not too shabby considering the two ahead of him are Duncan Keith (Norris Trophy winner) and Brent Seabrook. Some might even have him ahead of Seabrook. The 27-year-old blueliner had a career high in assists (22) and points (26) in 2013-14, and ranked in the top 20 in blocked shots with 157. There's value in that combination and even more if he continues to track up to the 30-point mark.
Hjalmarsson's numbers last season -- points, hits and blocked shots -- were consistent with his last few years. He's an absolutely punishing defender and plays in every important defensive situation. And while he has untapped offensive ability, he is most valuable in his own zone. He's an asset in specialty formats, but is unlikely to help you in standard leagues.
Hjalmarsson was one of the top names that were supposed to be shipped out by the Blackhawks, but he was still on the roster when the summer ended. He is a shot-blocking specialist and was second on the team in that category with 142, behind only the great Brent Seabrook. He'll be a steady 15-18 point producer; don't draft for any more.
Hjalmarsson was a controversial figure during the 2010-11 offseason for the Blackhawks as the team needed to match the San Jose Sharks offer for him. The result is that the team was placed at the limit of the salary cap. Hjalmarsson saw a dip in scoring with just three goals and seven assists. However, he increased his blocked shots to 166 from 137 the year before. More is sure to be expected from him for 2011-12.
Hjalmarsson is an outstanding defender who is emerging as a top-notch, shot-blocking, shutdown specialist. But the 23-year-old boasts some impressive offensive skills that are unfortunately underutilized on an extremely deep Hawks blue line. He's a Dan Hamhuis clone, just a few years younger. Expect 20-25 points this season with slow growth dependent on his role. Just beware he may become so valuable killing penalties and shutting down the opposition's best forwards that he may never fully develop his offensive game.
The 22-year-old defenseman could be a major plus come the 2009-10 season. He was injured in the first Hawks game last season and then relegated to Rockford. Hjalmarsson was brought up near the end of the season and would play 21 games for the entire season while registering a goal and two assists along with a plus-4 rating. He also played several minutes on the ice in a couple of games in the Detroit series in the playoffs.
Hjalmarsson played in 13 games with the Hawks last season. He'll compete with Jordan Hendry, Cam Barker, and Matt Walker for the third defensive pairing. He shouldn't have lots of value in a standard league but could accrue decent assist numbers for teams in deep leagues.