On Monday morning, the Blackhawks announced that the team had re-signed forwards Brandon Bollig and Ben Smith to two-year contracts and goaltender Carter Hutton to a one-year deal.
The 6-foot-2, 223 pound Bollig was initially recalled to the Hawks from Rockford on February 28th and made his NHL debut on February 29th against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He got into his first NHL fight in the second period of the game against Luke Schenn. The St. Charles, Missouri native played in 18 regular season contests for the Hawks, logging 58 penalty minutes and a -2 plus/minus rating. In the playoffs, he appeared in four games, accumulating 19 PIMS and scored his first NHL goal in the post season in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. While with Rockford, Bollig, 25, played in 53 games, scored nine points (3G, 6A), and put up 163 penalty minutes, which ended up being 17th best in the AHL, despite his recall.
Smith’s season was cut short with a right hip labrum tear and a hernia, which resulted in season ending surgery on March 15th. His last game of the year was on March 3rd in Peoria. The Avon, Connecticut native played in 38 games for the IceHogs. He put up 31 points (15G, 16A)–which was seventh most on the team–a +2 plus/minus rating, ten penalty minutes, and eight power play goals. Those eight man advantage markers led the Hogs. Despite his shorter season, he matched his point total from 2010-11 where he played in 63 games with Rockford. The IceHogs’ Man of the Year was recalled four times throughout the season. During those combined stints, he played 13 games in the Indian Head sweater and scored twice. Smith, 23, will have another legitimate shot to make the Hawks’ roster in 2012-13, which he was well on his way to doing in 2011-12, until he suffered a concussion from a Brendan Smith hit in the pre-season.
Hutton’s re-signing is a huge one in terms of solid goalie depth. While with the IceHogs in the 2011-12 season, the Thunder Bay, Ontario native blossomed in net and led the Hogs’ season turn-around and playoff push. He appeared in 43 games for Rockford and had a record of 22-13-4. The IceHogs’ MVP posted three shutouts, a 2.35 goals against average, and a .917 save percentage. He backed up Corey Crawford twice in 2011-12 (on March 16th in Dallas and March 27th in New Jersey) and was recalled to be a part of the Black Aces for the post season on April 16th.
In other news, goaltender Alexander Salak, who was placed on waivers on June 15th, was released by the Hawks and signed a two-year deal to play with Färjestad of the Swedish Elite League. (The article is in Czech.)
Also, according to Chris Block, the IceHogs have re-signed forward Brandon Svendsen.
The Maplewood, Minnesota native appeared in 39 games for the IceHogs and scored four goals and ten assists for a total of 14 points. Overall in the AHL in 2011-12, he appeared in 44 games and tallied 15 points (4G, 11A).