Tuesday morning the Blackhawks agreed to a two year extension with defenseman Erik Gustafsson. Was it a good deal for Chicago?
If you happened to watch the three Blackhawks California games last week, you know that the defense is still an incredible concern moving forward in Chicago. The 16 goals surrendered in the three games came thanks to a number of defensive lapses, bad positioning, and odd man rushes the opposite way.
One of the defenseman who was caught out of position a number of times, Erik Gustafsson, agreed to a two-year extension with the team this morning. The team also announced a one-year deal with Tyler Sikura (Dylan’s brother).
Rumors have been swirling since yesterday, much to the dismay of ‘Hawks fans, that the deal may be around $1.25 million a year.
While Gustafsson is still young and actually has better Corsi-for numbers than you would expect (58 percent and a 6.5 relative), if the money rumored on the deal is true, that feels like an overpayment. Maybe the ‘Hawks are a bit concerned about a limited defensive free agency market this year, but Gustafsson has only played in 60 career games the last two years and hasn’t shown he is quite ready to be an every night defenseman.
‘Hawks fans all know the common thread of Stan Bowman overpaying in contract extensions from the Brent Seabrook, Richard Panik, and Bryan Bickell deals. While Gustafsson being overpaid by a couple hundred thousand dollars may not seem like a lot, it is smaller deals like this (for a defenseman that may not be an every night player) that add up and keep the ‘Hawks tightrope walking on the salary cap line.
The move makes Jan Rutta the only member of the defense not signed past this season and may be a sign that Rutta’s time in Chicago is coming to an end. The work on the defense will certainly not be done there, however, as the team will need to look at some type of help in free agency this summer.
Maybe Gustafsson will come into his own with more time in the big leagues, but right now I don’t think he has shown enough to warrant a 2 year, $2.5 million deal. What do you think of the Gustafsson re-signing? Give us your thoughts below.