Yesterday, the Blackhawks announced the signing of four players to NHL contracts. Forward Dominik Kahun, defenseman Lucas Carlsson, defenseman Darren Raddysh and goaltender Kevin Lankinen signed new deals with Chicago. Kahun, Raddysh and Lakinen signed two-year contracts while Carlsson signed a three-year contract.

Kahun, 22, has impressed in 2017-18 on the international stage. Kahun was part of three straight Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) championships as a member of EHC München. In Germany’s top league, Kahun recorded his career best in assists (29) and points (41) as well as matching his career best goal total with 12 in 2017-18 per the Chicago Blackhawks’ press release. Kahun also recorded two goals and three assists in eight Olympic contests, helping Germany to the silver medal in Pyeongchang. Although small, Kahun is good at finding space. He could become a very solid contributor if he can figure out how to find space on the smaller ice surface. Keep an eye on him in camp, he will likely be in Rockford next year to begin the season. He could become a solid Top 9 scorer for Chicago.

Carlsson, 20,  was drafted by the Hawks in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. He played 44 games this past year in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), the country’s top league, posting 17 points (7G, 10A) for Brynäs IF. His seven goals were top among defenseman on his team and good for fourth in the entire SHL. Carlsson adds to an already somewhat crowded blueline in Rockford, with the likes of 2017 first round pick Henri Jokiharju, Dennis Gilbert, Darren Raddysh (see more below), Carl Dahlstrom, Gustav Forsling and Blake Hillman, among others competing for spots. With decent size at 6’0” 190 lbs, he could become a solid contributor for Chicago next season. There is not much footage of Carlsson readily available to the public, so he will be an interesting participant during rookie camp and the preseason. He will likely begin the year in Rockford to adapt to the north american ice surface, but don’t be surprised if he sees time with Chicago at some point next season.

Raddysh played this past season with Rockford, contributing 22 points in 66 games in his first pro season. He has suited up for every Rockford playoff game to this point, and will likely be a key member of the blueline in the AHL next year. Raddysh has shown a lot of promise, being sound with positioning and breakout ability, while adapting well to the pro level this year. Prior to the 2017-18 season, Raddysh won the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Most Outstanding Defenseman after recording 81 points with the Erie Otters and helping them capture the OHL championship. Raddysh signed with Rockford as an undrafted free agent last season, reuniting in prospect camp with former teammate and Blackhawks leading goal scorer Alex DeBrincat. Raddysh, 22, will have every opportunity to crack the lineup in Chicago, but will likely begin with Rockford at the start of the 2018-19 season.

Lankinen, 23, is joining Chicago after posting a career best season with a 1.33 goals against average (GAA) and .946 save percentage in 15 games over in the Finnish Elite League. Each year, Lankinen has improved and his numbers have shown it. Although only playing in 15 games last season with HIFK, his numbers are no joke in one of the top leagues in Europe. Chicago has had good success with Finnish Elite League goalies since the start of the salary cap era. Goaltenders Antti Niemi and Antti Raanta both signed with Chicago out of the Finnish Elite League. If they have any type of success with Lankinen that they did with Antti squared, the Hawks could be looking at a goalie of the future or, at worst, a backup netminder for this upcoming season. He will likely have a chance at the backup job behind Crawford, but don’t be surprised if he begins with Rockford and either Anton Forsberg or Collin Delia win the backup job with Chicago to begin the season. In the case of any injuries at the parent club level, he would likely get the call if playing well with Rockford. There is some mystery with Lankinen, similar to Carlsson, in the sense there is not much public video, but he will be another intriguing prospect come rookie camp and preseason. Keep an eye on Lankinen as he could become the best signing of this foursome for Chicago in the immediate future.

Upon reading the information released by the Chicago Blackhawks (and credit as the source for much of this information) my opinions on these players were supplemented by highlights and memory of live performances (Raddysh) from this past season. All four of these players are likely to start the season in Rockford, but do not be surprised if a guy like Lankinen or Kahun get a shot as a backup netminder or bottom six forward, respectively to begin the season. All four players have potential to make an impact at the NHL level, but all will likely need some seasoning or more seasoning at the AHL level. Rockford will be a strong team next year with the amount of depth being signed by Chicago. The blueline will be quite crowded, so keep an eye on all these players as we approach opening night for the NHL’s 2018-19 season.

Thanks for reading! Let me know which signing excites you the most and why! Who could be with the Hawks and making an impact the quickest of the four?

Photo: Riku Laukkanen

Comments are closed.

Check Also

Brad Aldrich Name Crossed Off Stanley Cup

This week, the league made a significant step in the right direction as they crossed out F…