The list of restricted free agents preparing for salary arbitration hearings continues to dwindle as each day passes. The Colorado Avalanche eliminated both of their possible hearings by signing Kevin Porter and Ryan Wilson yesterday while the Chicago Blackhawks cut their headaches in half by locking up Viktor Stalberg to a two-year contract today.
Jay Gold reports that the two-year deal is worth $1.75 million overall, with an annual cap hit of $875K per season. Chris Campoli ranks as the only Chicago player still headed toward a possible arbitration hearing while Michael Frolik is a restricted free agent who isn’t eligible for arbitration.
Stalberg came to Chicago in a cap-conscious deal that sent Kris Versteeg to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Stalberg scored 24 points in 77 regular season games and one goal in seven playoff contests in his second NHL campaign. He only played 10:42 minutes per game during the regular season and a little more than 12 minutes per playoff match against the Vancouver Canucks.
The Blackhawks made a lot of minor (often veteran) additions during the 2011 off-season, but most of those contracts were one-year deals. At 25 years old, Stalberg could find a home in Chicago if he plays well during the next two seasons or find himself fighting for a job at the NHL level. It all depends upon how well he develops in a depth position on this Blackhawks roster.