Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks Sign Baun To Two-Year Deal

By Sean Fitzgerald
Sep 22, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Kyle Baun (39) with the puck during the second period against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 22, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Kyle Baun (39) with the puck during the second period against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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While playing in a their second game of a two-game road trip, the Chicago Blackhawks’ front office stayed busy, announcing  Kyle Baun signed a two-year contract extension. The deal is a one-way contract and goes through the end of the 2017-18 season. Baun is scheduled to earn $600,000 next year and $650,000 in 2017-18. Baun’s current contract ended after this season and had annual value of $858,750.

Baun was signed as a college free agent in March 2015 out Colgate. While there, Baun had 39 goals and 40 assists in 113 games. He was a highly sought after college free agent and chose to sign with the Blackhawks. He had a cameo with the Blackhawks in 2014-15. He appeared in three games and recorded zero points.

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After a strong offseason, Baun was a surprising addition to the Blackhawks’ roster to start the current season. Baun started on the third line and appeared in two games before being sent back to Rockford. Baun would then sustain his first serious injury of his career. He would miss 31 games before returning to the IceHogs’ lineup in early February. In 22 games with the IceHogs, Baun has three assists.

While the move might appear curious to some people, if you look deeper at the deal it makes sense. General Manager Stan Bowman has said that Artemi Panarin is going to get a contract extension, and Teuvo Teravainen will also be up for a new contract soon. If you look at this season’s roster and forecast out, it is apparent the team is going to need cheap forwards. The Blackhawks currently have seven forwards, five defensemen and two goalies signed to NHL contracts next season. Those 14 players have a combined cap hit of $61,075,127.

The team will be faced with many roster decisions at the NHL and AHL levels. The Blackhawks have four (Andrew Ladd, Tomas Fleischmann, Dale Weise and Brandon Mashinter) unrestricted free agent forwards this offsseason. In addition to the four UFAs, the team also has restricted free agents on the roster in Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger and Dennis Rasmussen. At the AHL level, the organization has four RFA forwards in Ryan Haggerty, Mark McNeill, Matt Fraser and Garrett Ross. Tim Jackman is the lone AHL UFA forward. Which forwards will the organization retain, and at what prices? People shouldn’t forget that the salary cap might not increase next season.

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By retaining Baun at an annual cap hit of $625,000 per year, they keep a potential fourth-line forward at a lower price. The deal is also so cap friendly that if the Blackhawks feel Baun is not a fit the team or needs more time at Rockford, they can bury his cap hit in the AHL.

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