Report card Niklas Hjalmarsson (Photoshop by Joe Kremel)
Contract Status- Hjalmarsson will be in his final season of his 4 year contract that pays him $3,500,000 a season.
Summary- Hjalmarsson was a key member of one of the stingiest defenses in the NHL. No matter who he was paired with throughout the season he played some of the best hockey of his career. It seems like a lifetime ago when he was rumored to be on the trading block with some Blackhawks fans wishing that Bowman had picked Antti Niemi instead of Hammer. Hjalmarsson was very solid all year while seeminly blocking shot after shot while taking on the opposing teams best offensive weapons.
Thankfully Brent Seabrook scored in Game #7 of the Detroit series to bail out the refs after a horrible call which wiped out what would have been Hjalmarsson’s biggest goal of his career which was a great shot either way. Hjalmarsson played great throughout the playoffs while taking shots to every part of his body while always getting back up for more. Hammer is just one of the few core Hawks that were on both Cup winning teams and made the tough choice Bowman made in the 2010 offseason pay dividends!
Pre-Season Prediction– The over/under bar was set at 1 goal 9 assists and multiple trade rumors. We almost hit the numbers right on except for the trade rumors which never even started rumbling with Hjalmarsson’s fine play all season.
Grade- Hjalmarsson gets a A- for his high level of defensive consistency during the regular season and the playoffs.
What is your grade for the Hammer?
For more Blackhawks conversation follow us on Twitter @Blackhawk_Up or Like our Facebook page at Blackhawkup.