Last week the Hawks made a few minor moves that will have some affect their roster this fall. Jack Skille, a restricted free agent and former first round draft pick (7th overall in 2006), re-signed to a one-year deal worth $600,000. I feel like a broken record writing this, but Skille should have every chance in the world to leave training camp with the Blackhawks. His cheap price tag guarantees that. Skille will have a Versteeg-like role on the third line, but is bigger (6’1” 215).
The other transaction was the signing of Russian forward Igor Makarov to a two-year entry-level contract worth $1,105,000 (a $552,000 cap hit). Makarov made an impression at prospect camp two years ago, but hasn’t backed that performance up in two seasons in the KHL. He split the 2009-10 season between St. Petersburg SKA and Moscow Dynamo, and in 51 games between the two clubs, Makarov had five goals and four assists with 61 penalty-minutes. The 22-year-old Russian will compete for a spot on the Blackhawks’ roster as a bottom-six forward at training camp, but he’ll likely land in Rockford come October.
If Skille and Makarov don’t get you excited, maybe Bryan Bickell will. There have been whispers that Bickell (RFA) is close to signing a multi-year contract with the Hawks. It’s a matter of when. The Blackhawks will re-sign him to a cap-friendly deal at $550,000 – a slight raise from last year. Once Bickell is inked, the Hawks will have twelve starting forwards locked-up.