Hawks match Sharks' offer sheet for Hjalmarsson

Niklas Hjalmarsson is a Blackhawk and will be for some time.

General manager Stan Bowman wasn’t about to let the San Jose Sharks — perennial contenders in the Western Conference — steal the Hawks’ promising young defenseman.

So Bowman announced Monday the Hawks are matching the Sharks’ four-year, $14 million offer sheet that Hjalmarsson, a restricted free agent, signed last week.

”Niklas was a big part of our success last year,” Bowman said. ”He is part of our core that is going to be together for a long time. I’m happy for him. He’s a quiet leader among our defensive group. He gets overshadowed because we have some other superstars there. But he was really effective for us all year long. … He’s only going to get better. He’s 23 years old.”

But keeping Hjalmarsson also creates more obstacles. Hjalmarsson’s cap hit will be $3.5 million each season. So despite parting with Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Kris Versteeg and so on, Bowman still has plenty of work to do because of the Sharks’ ingenious move.

Bowman said it never was a choice between Hjalmarsson and goalie Antti Niemi, another restricted free agent. Before the offer sheet, a source said the Hawks previously had discussed only short-term contracts with Hjalmarsson, who made $666,000 in 2009-10. But by taking on his new salary, more tough decisions await the cap-stricken Hawks.

Brent Seabrook has one year left on his contract, and Brian Campbell, with his $7 million-plus salary, already has become the subject of trade speculation. Campbell has a limited no-trade clause, which allows him to choose teams.

For the time being, finding a way to fit Niemi and the raise he’s due into the books is Bowman’s biggest challenge. Niemi filed for arbitration and will have his hearing July 29. But Bowman would like to have a deal in place before then. Restricted free agents Bryan Bickell and Jack Skille also have to be signed.

It will be interesting to see how Hjalmarsson’s new salary affects negotiations with Niemi’s camp, especially with the Hawks having even less cap space than before with several roster spots to fill.


17 Responses to Hawks match Sharks' offer sheet for Hjalmarsson

  1. glotz_99 says:

    I don't mean to turn this into another Leaf article, but since the Hawks matched San Jose's offer, Doug Wilson has now turned his attention to either Kaberle or Bieksa, with possibly Devin Setagouchi going the other way.

    The Hawks are still in a lot of cap trouble, and since Campbell's contract in unmovable and Huet likely to be demoted, it has long been rumored that Patrick Sharp may be the next one out the door.  

  2. leafy says:

    The jackass makes $7.2M per year.

    I have a theory that assholes make very successful people. This supports my theory.


  3. Frank181 says:

    Peace sharp,  come to Toronto.

  4. rcichard0337 says:

    cawk blocked

    Hawks may lose more players and seabrook next season.

  5. cam7777 says:

    He could probably have both and completely revamp his defense.  Kaberle for Clowe + McLaren and Bieksa for 1st + 3rd – Vancouver doesn't want salary back for Bieksa and they don't need any more help with scoring.  THey already can't find room for Cody Hodgson much less another right winger.

  6. mojo19 says:

    Go try to be the Chicago GM on capgeek.com, and without sending Campbell down to the minors, try to fill out that roster with only making realistic UFA signings and stay under the cap. Its damn hard, I wouldn't be happy to be in their position.

    I had to send Huet down and re-sign Niemi for $2.2 mil, and use Toivenen as a back up, and then I signed all cheap UFA's/call up prospects and I had to send down Reasoner, the team is a bit thin.

    They need to move Campbell, that's the bottom line. If I were Stan Bowman I would bite the bullet the way Lou did a few years ago and try to deal a 1st round pick with Campbell. Of course with so many years and so much money still owed there still would likely not be any takers, so I would take back a bad contract as well (one that would be easier for ownership to bury than Campbell's.) Not a pretty scenario but I think necessary.

  7. nordiques100 says:

    I mentioned this in another article.

    1. trade Campbell to the NYI along with a 1st and 2nd round pick for Brendan Witt. Only issue is Campbell waiving his NTC.

    2. Demote Witt, along with Huet.

    3. re-sign free agents:

    Bickell 600K per
    Niemi 3 mil per
    Hendry 600K per
    Skille 750K

    add in the salary of Vishnevsky and you have 18 players under contract with 7.1 mil to spare.

    4. sign Willie Mitchell for 3 mil per

    5. sign Vesa Toskala for 1 mil per

    6. sign Evgeny Artyukhin for 1 mil per (alternative is to INSERT kyle Beach instead of adding artyukhin. Cap number should be roughly the same)

    7. sign Jay Pandolfo 600K

    That is 5.6 mil used up leaving about 1.5 mil in extra cap space to use through the year. 

    Pandolfo-Reasoner-Artyukhin (or Beach)

    Lots of moveable parts up front. If Beach is in, he could be the new Byfuglien and be up with Toews and Kane. Stalberg would drop to line 2 and Kopecky back into a checking role.

    Pandolfo was added to help the PK and add depth. Him and Reasoner should fill that role but could give way to the likes of Bickell, Skille and other kids.

    Here, all these moves allow them to keep their big 4 up front in Sharp, Toews, Kane and Hossa. Bolland and Brouwer along with guys like Beach, Bickell, Skillie, its not horrible. yes they'd miss Versteeg, Buff.


    D is still ok. they'd hope Vishnevsky would be able to step in and provide offense lost iwth campbell gone. Mitchell is tough and would bring some nastiness lost with all those guys like Buff gone.

    Toskala struggled for the better part of 2 years but he did finish ok in Calgary and is worthy of a shot here. he may find chemistry with fellow Finn Niemi. Niemi is the clear 1 but Toskala could play 30 games though.

    If they want, they could sign another depth guy like a Jay Ortmeyer or Matt Ellis or Tim Conboy, just to have some more 4th line depth.

    There are some other guys in the system who could add depth too: Brophey, Dowell, Davis, Olimb, Klinkhammer, Didomenico, Paradis, Smith, Pepin, Connelly, Lalonde, Crawford, Toivonen. All these guys should be in Rockford for the Hawks to call up.

  8. TmLeafan says:

    I think a 1st and a 3rd are too much for Bieksa. Have you seen him play because he is pretty bad.  VAncouver will take whatever they can get for Bieksa.

  9. Kramer says:

    Can a defenceman who plays forward win the Norris trophy or Selke trophy? I woke up last night trying to figure it out and couldn't sleep.

  10. mojo19 says:

    That looks pretty good. Willie Mitchell…. injuries. But he is a good player, it would be worth taking the chance on. And Artyukhin I believe will earn a bit more than that, somewhere around $1.5ish.

    But ya, any way you crunch it, if Campbell isn't moved they're way too tight over there.

  11. glotz_99 says:

    Clowe would be a great pickup, but he just signed a 4 year contract last year, so they probably want to hold on to him, but I'm sure Burke would jump all over a trade for him.

    Seteguchi would be a good pickup too, the only problem being he is another right winger.

  12. mojo19 says:

    That's a good one. It would never happen, those types of utility guys are always like Chris McAllister, Wade Belak, sometimes forwards converted to play d a few games like Sami Kapanen, Sergei Fedorov, but they'd never win the Norris.

    Think of it this way, if Mike Green played half his games on forward he'd never be good enough defensively to win the selke or Norris. Who else could play both positions who's a high end d-man?

    Let's think of it this way now, a Norris calibre guy, like Zdeno Chara, if for some reason they decided to play him up on forward for half the games, would probably be the only situation where there's a guy good enough to do it, but even then why would you ever use a defensman that good on forward???

    Would never happen. Good night Kramer

  13. nordiques100 says:

    and unfortunately, as nice a guy Campbell is, they may have to pretty much give him the ultimatum like how the Bolts kinda forced Boyle out the door.

    Boyle didnt really want to leave, but options were leave or leave.

    and for any team to take the 6 years left, they have to include at worst 1 1st rounder or a top prospect. i think the 2nd rounder included should cement it.

    arguably the worst contract given.

    Huet is up there, Finger, Redden is way up there too.

  14. Kramer says:

    That's too bad. I wanna see a defenceman win the Norris and Selke in the same year.

  15. reinjosh says:

    Actually a bunch of people have reported that they would rather move Clowe over Setoguchi. According to Andy Strickland, San Jose would be willing to give up one or the other for Kaberle.

  16. leafmeister says:

    I wouldnt put Finger in that league simply because the cap hit isnt crippling, and the term isnt outrageous. Finger is a vastly overpaid 7th defensemen. 3.5 per year isnt going to cripple any teams, and isnt as immovable as the Redden and Huet contracts. Finger would have been a good addition if he got 1.-1.5 mil. 3.5 was just ridiculous.

  17. mojo19 says:

    Shawn Horcoff

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