The Blackhawks came to terms today with four players: ’08 Sixth Round Draft Pick defensman Jonathan Carlsson, winger Rob Klinkhammer, defenseman Brian Connelly, and goaltender Alec Richards.
Carlsson has played parts of the last three seasons at the highest level of professional hockey in Sweden, the Swedish Elite League. At only 20 years old, he will likely start next year in Rockford with the team keeping a fairly close eye on him.
The easy comparison to make is to Ham Sandwich. Both played parts of three seasons in the Elite League. Neither lit up scoreboards with their offensive play. Carlsson had a goal and assist in 86 games; Sandwich had 3 goals and 2 assists in 55 games. They were both late round picks with Sandwich being a 4th round selection. Time will tell, though, if Carlsson’s as dependable in the defensive end.
Rob Klinkhammer, 23 years old, spent this past season in Rockford, but not as Blackhawk property. He was a fan favorite, probably because of his cool last name. Other than Carlsson, he has the best chance of the four of ever wearing the Indian Head. He’ll never be more than a 4th line grinder in the NHL, but with teams having to maneuver around the salary cap, his easily replaceable skills and small cap hit will be welcome to any cap-strapped teams.
Richards, 21 years old, and Connelly, 22 years old, are nothing more than depth signings. Richards will most likely battle to be the back-up at Rockford. Connelly will have to either really turn some heads or the ebola virus will have to run rampant through the Hawks locker room for him ever to be a key contributor.
Then again, goalies are weird, so you never know.