Just as Emma had news of the Bruins signing a baby goalie, the Blackhawks announced that they officially re-signed Jamal Mayers and Johnny Oduya along with signing some prospects.
Jammer was brought to the team last summer to shore up the lagging offense and provide protection to the big scorers, and he did so with 11 fighting majors and 91 penalty minutes. He was kinda silent but effective on the fourth line, but his presence there will be even more of an asset if he’s reunited with the likes of Jimmy Hayes and Andrew Shaw next season.
Johnny came to the team at the trade deadline in February, and he gave the defense a much-needed shot in the arm, spending on the power play and exceeding the expectations of everyone. Yes, he had a slump during the playoffs, but so did everyone. We need him on the power play, and he’ll serve the defense well if he’s paired with guys like Steve Montador or Nick Leddy.
Also signed today to three-year contracts were four very talented younglings: forward Joakim Nordstrom and defenseman Klas Dahlbeck of the Swedish Elite League and goalies Mac Carruth of the Portland Winterhawks and Kent Simpson of the Everett Silvertips. The Swedes both represented Sweden in the World Juniors, with Nordstrom helping the Swedish team win gold this year’s championship. Simpson had a .909 save percentage and two shutouts with the Silvertips, while Carruth led the Winterhawks to their second WHL Championship in a row and had a career-high 42 wins in 63 appearances.
In a conference call to talk about the major signings, Stan Bowman said that the organization was eager to sign both of them, and that signing Oduya was necessary – they’d have to search for a defenseman of his calibur if they hadn’t. He also made it clear that this wasn’t the end in terms of building the team with trades or signings, so we’ll just have to keep our eyes and ears open. After all, there’s only one month till Free Agency Day.