From The Ice

Other Erik Gustafsson Signs With Chicago

Other Erik Gustafsson Signs With Chicago
Cat Silverman

The Chicago Blackhawks — per Swedish online news source GT Expresen — have reportedly signed Swedish defenseman Erik Gustafsson to a two year entry level deal with the club.

Philadelphia Flyers fans were somewhat bummed. Born in 1988, defenseman Erik Gustafsson — signed as a free agent originally by the Flyers following three seasons at Northern Michigan University — was short but effective. Spending the majority of his tenure with the Flyers on their farm team in Adirondack, Gustafsson was a reliable call-up when needed.

Only… he’s the wrong Erik Gustafsson.

The Blackhawks, in reality, have inked 23-year old Swedish blue liner Erik Gustafsson to an entry level deal — and this Gustafsson, originally a 2012 fourth round pick of the Edmonton Oilers, has a much higher projected talent ceiling.

The six foot one Swedish skater has split his career thus far between Djurgardens IF-Stockholm of the Swedish Elite League and Frolunda HC, where he’s developed a reputation as a smart offensive blue liner. With twenty-nine points over his last fifty-three games with Frolunda, this Gustafsson — a member of the 2011 U20 Swedish World Junior Championships roster — will report to Rockford next season.

Although he’s projected to be a smart defenseman and is arguably a good pickup for the club, though, it’s interesting that the club is replacing their most recently departed blue line prospect with one of a similar skill set and caliber. Through the signing of Gustafsson, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman has lessened the sting of the Antoine Vermette trade just a tad — and although there’s a possibility that Gustafsson will reach a higher talent ceiling than Klas Dahlbeck (now a part of the long-term plans with the Arizona Coyotes), the signing still points to a replacement for the team’s less-than-perfect trade deadline move.

It also, of course, could be the team’s way of bringing on cheaper NHL-ready players in preparation of a salary cap crisis next season.

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From The Ice
Cat Silverman
@catacarryon

Catherine is the first American in a long line of Canadians, making her the black sheep before she even decided she wasn't going to be a Leafs fan. Her cousins may never forgive her for the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, but they're at least glad she's a rink rat, too. She's a pretty terrible goalie, but she's got a good grasp on the game from her seat on the bench.

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