The Chicago Blackhawks made a trio of minor moves on Monday, announcing the signings of three players to new contracts. The three that inked new deals with the Hawks on Monday included Brandon Bollig, Ben Smith, and goaltender Carter Hutton.
Of the three, Bollig saw the most time with the Hawks this season, though it remains to be seen how much game time he’ll actually see, with Dan Carcillo returning and Jamal Mayers coming back on a one-year deal.
Bollig essentially replaced John Scott last season as the enforcer in the lineup. He hasn’t really shown he can really do anything well, other than the dropping of the gloves, so I expect him to frequent the press box next season. Here’s to him fighting Ryan Reaves at the most pointless times on a few more occasions next year.
Ben Smith is a guy who worked his way into Chicago folk lore with a solid series against the Vancouver Canucks in 2011, which included a Game 6 overtime goal to force a Game 7. He’s been a fan favorite ever since.
But I don’t see Smith getting much time with the Hawks, or much time outside of Rockford for that matter. He didn’t have the greatest year this season, before hip surgery ended it. It’s that surgery that has next season in question. If he can recover, you may see him occasionally fill in for an injury or Carcillo suspension or something.
Don’t expect to see Carter Hutton at the NHL level this season, pending some sort of injury to one of Corey Crawford or Ray Emery. He had a decent year with the Icehogs last season and will have a chance to start, especially with the release of Alexander Salak.
Overall, these signings should be nothing more than Rockford depth. We’ll likely see Bollig, as unfortunate as that sounds, on the NHL roster to throw in against the teams like St. Louis or even Phoenix. But as far as Smith, assuming he can recover from serious hip surgery, and Hutton go, don’t expect to see them at the United Center anytime soon.