Jan 12, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Antti Raanta (31) is congratulated by right wing Ben Smith (28) for a victory against the Edmonton Oilers during the third period at the United Center. The Blackhawks beat the Oilers 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
Stan Bowman is at work this morning and it wasn’t a trade but an announcement that most Chicago Blackhawks fans will be excited to hear. The Chicago Blackhawks signed Ben Smith and Antti Raanta to new two-year contracts with both of them having been restricted free agents.
The numbers for both look very good in the salary cap column.
Ben Smith had a break out year after being a blip in Blackhawks history with his overtime goal in Game #6 in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs against the Vancouver Canucks and getting his name on the Stanley Cup for playing in Game #3 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals, Smith had a very solid first full season with the Blackhawks. Smith played on one of the most consistent lines of the year for the Blackhawks along side Brandon Bollig and Marcus Kruger on the Blackhawks 4th line. Smith has a way of keeping possession of the puck below the opponents goal line that has to be frustrating to the whomever he’s playing against.
Smith for the season had 14 goals and 12 assists while playing most of the season on the 4th line, but as the season went along Joel Quenneville became more and more comfortable with Smith and used him on the higher lines throughout the playoffs. Smith’s hard work paid off especially today with the new contract.
Antti Raanta was called upon to replace an injured Corey Crawford during the winter and did such a good job he was Rookie of the Month in December and was a solid 13-5-4 in his rookie campaign although many think he should have seen more time in Rockford especially when Q was playing Crawford a lot. Raanta talked about wanting to stay with Chicago at the end of the year and in the end he got his wish.
What do you think of the Hawks re-signing Smith and Raanta today?
Happy Draft day!!
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