Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: Happy Birthday Andrew Desjardins!

By Gail Kauchak
Feb 9, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones (31) makes a save on Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Desjardins (11) during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 9, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones (31) makes a save on Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Desjardins (11) during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Blackhawks’ Andrew Desjardins turns 30 today!

Over the past few weeks, we’ve wished two of the defensemen (Duncan Keith and Trevor van Riemsdyk) on the Chicago Blackhawks a happy birthday. Today it’s time to wish a happy day to one of the forwards on the team, Andrew Desjardins. He hits a pretty big milestone today, turning 30 years of age! “Desi” hasn’t been on the team for long, but he has made some humble contributions in his short time with the club.

Desjardins came to the Chicago Blackhawks at the trade deadline in March 2015. He was part of a swap that brought him over from the San Jose Sharks, but took away then-fan favorite Ben Smith. If it’s any consolation, Smith flew to San Jose the same day he found out he was traded, suited up at the last minute to play in that night’s game and proceeded to score a goal!

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But continuing on with Desjardins. Although no one really wanted to see Smith leave, the move made sense for the Chicago Blackhawks. Smith had one season left on a contract that was to pay him $1.5 million. Desjardins, on the other hand, was in the final year of a contract that paid him $750,000. The Sharks also retained half of his salary. So the ’Hawks were essentially getting a similar style of player for less money, and saving against the salary cap in the future.

Desjardins came in and became a favorite in his own right with his affable personality and thoughtful and sincere interviews. Of course, fitting in pretty well on the ice had something to do with it as well. Desi became part of a gritty fourth line that consisted of himself, Marcus Kruger and Andrew Shaw.

They were a consistent line that understood and performed its shutdown role very well. It contributed in helping the Chicago Blackhawks take home the Cup that year.

The 2015-16 season came with having to make the usual sacrifices in order to keep the team within the salary cap. Young superstar Brandon Saad cashed in on his new-found fame and signed a big contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. But Desjardins decided to take a different route.

He probably could have gotten more money elsewhere, but he chose to stay with the team that could offer him another chance at winning the Cup. He signed a two-year contract for $800,000 per year with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Desi had a decent season this past year (2015-16). He posted an NHL career-high eight goals, along with five assists. He didn’t have his consistent linemates of Shaw and Kruger, as Shaw spent a lot of time filling in on the top line, and Kruger was out with a wrist injury for an extended period of time.

It will be interesting to see where Desi fits in this upcoming season. He’s definitely a bottom-six forward, which the Chicago Blackhawks seem to have a plethora of this year. He will be competing with a number of youngsters for a regular spot in the lineup.

His natural position is center, but he can play both wings. Being able to play left wing is a huge advantage on a forward corps that is comprised mostly of right wingers. He can also hold his own in the faceoff circle.

Of course, he also has the advantage of being a known entity with the coaching staff, and we all know how Coach Q likes his veterans! Desi has been in the league for seven years, with only two teams (the Sharks and the ’Hawks).

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Will he be able to hook up with Kruger again, and find that chemistry they had from the 2015 playoffs? Or will be find his niche working with some of the newcomers? Will he struggle with being a healthy scratch? Regardless, Desi is only under contract with the Chicago Blackhawks for this next season. This very well could be his last year in a Blackhawks uniform. Let’s wish him a happy birthday, as well as a strong upcoming season!

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