Bad news for Chris Campoli? Chicago re-signs Michael Frolik for three years, Sami Lepisto for one year

Chicago’s summer of retooling and tweaking the lineup continues today and for one restricted free agent waiting to be signed, it might signal the end of his run in Chicago.

The Blackhawks re-signed restricted free agent Michael Frolik to a reported three-year, $7 million deal and have also signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Sami Lepisto to a one year contract. Frolik will likely slot in on the second line and play at center for Chicago once again. Frolik has scoring touch and gives Chicago some necessary offensive help.

Last season, Frolik’s third in the NHL, he scored 11 goals and added 27 assists between Florida and Chicago. His previous two seasons saw him total up 42 goals and 46 assists. If he can find that kind of scoring touch and perhaps more with the Blackhawks in a full season, it’ll be a huge boost for the team. The $2.3 million cap hit should do well by Chicago’s salary situation.

Chicago also signing up Sami Lepisto, who spent last year with both Phoenix and Columbus, has a bit more of a curious effect on how GM Stan Bowman is handling things with restricted free agent Chris Campoli. Campoli is set to go to arbitration on August 3 with the team and now with Lepisto in the fold, Campoli’s job as a puck moving offensively skilled defenseman is essentially filled. Lepisto is also likely coming in to Chicago at a cheaper price than Campoli would in arbitration and certainly for less than he could be looking for out of Chicago now.

At least Chicago fans will have the lasting memory of seeing Campoli turned inside-out by Alex Burrows in overtime of Game 7 of their first round playoff loss to make them feel furious. Campoli is also coming off of offseason knee surgery as well but he would be ready to go for training camp. As for whose training camp that will be in September remains to be seen.

With the kind of award Campoli would get in arbitration, it’s likely that it would be large enough for the Blackhawks to walk away from and make Campoli an unrestricted free agent, much like what the team did last year with Antti Niemi. While Niemi had a limited market in free agency last year, Campoli is a serviceable guy and could be useful for a number of teams seeking defensive help, he’ll just have to do it at a discount more than likely as the free agent market has virtually dried up.

Jaden Schwartz’s hat trick leads Blues over Blackhawks

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Jaden Schwartz‘s third career hat trick helped power the St. Louis Blues over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 in a Central Division clash Wednesday night at Scottrade Center.

Schwartz’s eventful evening began with a goal 4:46 into the first period. It was nearly ended minutes later after a scary crash into the end boards following a scoring chance.

After missing some time, Schwartz returned in the second period and doubled the Blues’ lead with his fourth of a season, thanks to a great outlet pass from Allen.

As the Blues built up a 4-0 lead, the Blackhawks spoiled Allen’s shutout bid with a pair of late power play goals 80 seconds apart. The furious rally was stopped, however, and Schwartz capped off his hat trick with an empty netter to put the game out of reach.

St. Louis dominated the first two periods, outshooting the Blackhawks 26-8 as they built up their 2-0 lead. The Blackhawks’ power play failed them early in the game, missing out on five chances to capitalize with the extra man through 40 minutes.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

WATCH LIVE: Canadiens at Kings

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The Montreal Canadiens play their second game of a three-game west coast trip Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

It hasn’t been the best start for the Habs, who sit tied for last in the Eastern Conference with a 1-4-1 record. They’re winless since an opening night win over the Buffalo Sabres. On the other side of things, the Kings are the only NHL team that has yet to lose in regulation. Their 4-0-1 start puts them a point behind the Vegas Golden Knights, and their game in-hand gives them the opportunity to leap into first place in the Pacific Division with a victory.

You can check out tonight’s game on NBCSN (10:30 p.m. ET) or online via the live stream.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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Leafs’ Marleau becomes 18th NHL player to reach 1,500-game milestone

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Patrick Marleau’s three-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs will end two months before his 41st birthday, a summer when many believe his NHL career will come to an end.

But as he celebrated game No. 1,500 Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings, the veteran forward was talking about reaching another kind of milestone.

“I’m going to keep going as long as I can,” he said Wednesday morning via Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. “I don’t know if my wife’s ready to have me at home full-time yet. If I feel good and still think I can contribute then I’ll keep it going.”

Marleau is the 18th player in NHL history to reach the 1,500 game mark. Should he stay healthy and play the entire 82-game slate or close to that, he’ll enter the 2018-19 season 11th all-time in that category. Gordie Howe holds the record with 1,767 games played.

Health has helped the 38-year-old Marleau reach the mark in his 20th NHL season. He hasn’t missed a regular game since the 2008-09 season and hasn’t played fewer than 74 games in a full season in his entire career.

Marleau has gone from being the youngest player in the league to the sixth-oldest in the span of 20 years and considering his history of good health, better fitness regiments of players and treatment by training staffs, challenging Howe may not be a crazy idea.

Of course, that is unless Jaromir Jagr sticks around. If that happens then Marleau would likely have to settle for No. 2.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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WATCH LIVE: Blackhawks at Blues

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This week’s edition of NBCSN’s Rivalry Night will feature a central division clash between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues.

It’s still early days, but the two sides are battling atop the Central, with the Blackhawks powered by great starts from a number of players including Brandon Saad and Ryan Hartman. The Blues, meanwhile, are looking to halt a two-game skid after winning their first four games of the season. The game also features the return of NHL on NBC analyst Ed Olczyk to the booth.

You can check out tonight’s game on NBCSN (8 p.m. ET) or online via the live stream.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

Blues get Alexander Steen back against Blackhawks

Return to the booth is Eddie Olczyk’s ‘best medicine’

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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