Blackhawks News

Greg’s Report Cards: Niklas Hjalmarsson

By Greg Boysen

GP   G   A   P   +/-   PIM  PPG  SHG  GWG  SOG  S%

69     1  14  15    9        14       0        0           0         65      1.5    Regular Season

6       0   1     1   -3         4         0        0           0          3         0      Playoffs

Contract Status:  signed through 2013-2014 ($3.5 million cap hit per year)

One of Stan Bowman’s toughest decisions came right after winning the Stanley Cup in the summer of 2010.  The San Jose Sharks signed Hjalmarsson to an offer sheet forcing Bowman to chose between Nik or goaltender Antti Niemi.  At the time I thought Bowman made the right decision, but hindsight is always 20/20 I am not so sure about that anymore.  Niemi has put together 2 solid years in San Jose, and neither Hjalmarsson or Corey Crawford have lived up to expectations.  Hjalmarsson is getting paid like a top 4 defenseman but, as of now, he is not one.  Nilkas missed 13 games this year due to a concussion.  One of Hjalmarsson strongest points is his willingness to block shots. He finished the season with 142 blocks, which was 2nd on the team behind Brent Seabrook.  I was surprised that he finished a plus 9 but then I remembered giving up goals while on a penalty kill does not count for +/-.  How many times did we watch Hjamarsson standing 8 feet away from the crease while an opposing player scores a power play goal?  Hjalmarsson also struggled mightily with clearing the puck out of the defensive zone all season long. If you aren’t going to clear the crease or get the puck out of the zone there isn’t a whole lot of use for you.  Hjalmarsson’s physical game has gone backwards over the last two seasons.  Ever since he got suspended for his hit on Buffalo’s Jason Pominville, at the beginning of the 2010 season, it seems like he is scared to lower the boom on opponents.  I think it is pretty clear that Bowman wants to move Hjalmarrson and his $3.5 million cap hit this offseason.  He didn’t mention Hjalmarsson’s name once in his state of the team address last week.  There is still some good trade value for Niklas so I would have no problem if he were to get moved.

2011-2012 Final Grade: C-