Blackhawks sign defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to 5-year deal

Sept. 4, 2013 at 5:58 PM
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CHICAGO, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- The NHL champion Chicago Blackhawks and key defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson have agreed on a five-year contract extension, the team announced Wednesday.

Hjalmarsson's deal will keep the 26-year-old Swede with Chicago through the 2018-19 season.

The team didn't disclose financial terms, but Canadian broadcaster TSN reported the contract was worth $4.1 million annually.

The blueliner has played a key role in each of the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup championships in 2010 and this past season, during which he had five assists and a plus-10 rating in 23 post-season games.

A fourth-round 2005 draft pick by Chicago, Hjalmarsson played all 48 games of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, providing two goals with a career-best plus-15 rating.

He sports a plus-48 rating with nine goals and 47 assists over 306 career regular season games.

The Blackhawks on Monday also signed goaltender Corey Crawford to a six-year deal.

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