Hockey: Blackhawks sign Bollig, Smith and Hutton, release Salak

June 20, 2012

Staff Report

CHICAGO — The Chicago Blackhawks have agreed to terms with forwards Brandon Bollig and Ben Smith on two-year contracts, and goaltender Carter Hutton on a one-year contract. Additionally, the team has released goaltender Alexander Salak.

Bollig, 25, made his National Hockey League debut during the 2011-12 campaign, appearing in 18 regular-season contests and four Stanley Cup Playoffs games with the Blackhawks, and netting the first goal of his NHL career in Game 2 of the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals against Phoenix. The St. Charles, Mo., native registered a career-high nine points (3G, 6A) in 53 regular-season tilts with the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs this year, and has notched 15 points (8G, 7A) and 285 penalty minutes in 111 career games over parts of three AHL seasons with the IceHogs (2009-12).

Smith, 23, has posted three goals in 19 regular-season contests and three markers in seven Stanley Cup Playoffs tilts with Chicago over the last two seasons. Originally selected by the Blackhawks in the sixth round (169th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Smith notched 15 goals, including eight power-play strikes, 31 points (15G, 16A) and a +2 plus/minus rating in 38 regular-season contests with Rockford this season. The Avon, Conn., native has tallied 34 goals and 62 points in 101 career AHL tilts with the IceHogs.

Hutton, 26, compiled a 22-13-4 record with three shutouts, a career-best 2.35 goals-against average, a .917 save percentage in 43 regular-season tilts with Rockford this year and also made 14 appearances with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. Since signing a one-year contract with the Blackhawks Feb. 24, Hutton has posted an 11-2-1 record in 14 AHL contests. The Thunder Bay, Ontario, native has compiled a 34-22-5 record with five shutouts and a .909 save percentage in 69 career AHL games with Rockford, Worcester (2010-11) and Adirondack (2009-10) following a collegiate career at the University of Massachusetts — Lowell.

Salak, 25, posted a 6-10-2 record and 2.69 GAA in 21 games with Rockford this year in his first season in the Blackhawks’ organization.

Season tickets for the 2012-13 are now on sale. Season ticket packages for the IceHogs’ 14th season of professional hockey in Rockford, including sixth as the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, are available by calling (815) 847-6399 or visiting icehogs.com for more information.

From the June 20-26, 2012, issue

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