The Chicago Blackhawks shored up their pool of defensive depth this morning by extending one of their newest players.
The Blackhawks announced today that they have signed defenseman Riley Stillman to a three-year, $1.35 million contract extension through the 2023-24 season. Stillman was only recently acquired in a trade with the Florida Panthers, so obviously the ‘Hawks like when they’ve been seeing from him recently.
“Having a young, physical defenseman like Riley in the fold is exciting for the future of our team,” said General Manager Stan Bowman. “He is growing into an excellent all-around defenseman and that continued development is something we look forward to seeing firsthand. We love his size, his toughness adds another piece to our defense.”
Stillman adds more size to Chicago’s back end. While not the heaviest defenseman on the team, he is still an imposing guy at 6’1 and knows how to throw his weight around. Since being acquired by the Blackhawks, he has registered 16 hits as well as eight blocked shots in the six games he has played.
Stillman has also registered five assists in his NHL career, all of them coming last season with the Florida Panthers. While he is certainly not offensively minded, that is not what the ‘Hawks got him for. He was acquired to be a defensive workhorse, and so far he has had an impressive showing.
Originally drafted in the fourth-round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Stillman played 89 games for the Panthers’ AHL affiliate before being called up to the NHL full-time last season. Prior to this, he played his junior career with the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, winning an OHL Championship in 2018. The 23-year-old has professional hockey in his blood, as his father Cory played over 1000 NHL games and also won two Stanley Cups.
While the Blackhawk’s salary cap woes have been well documented, this move probably won’t do much to hurt the team financially in the long run. Per CapFriendly, the ‘Hawks still have around $18 million in LTIR cap relief. Hopefully, Bowman will be able to use this to his advantage in the coming year.
Stillman will hit the ice again this Tuesday when Chicago faces off against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The puck drops at 7 p.m. CST at the United Center.