ROCKFORD – Twenty-one players on this year’s Rockford IceHogs roster are under contract with the Chicago Blackhawks for the 2018-19 season, including 10 skaters who saw NHL action.
Overall, 13 players earned recalls; six made their National Hockey League debuts, including Rookie of the Year Matthew Highmore and rookie goaltender Collin Delia. Delia set the IceHogs playoff record with seven straight wins in the Calder Cup playoff run that took the club to the Western Conference Finals.
In addition to those under contract, four players are restricted free agents (RFA) and a further four are unrestricted free agents (UFA) as of June 1. The list of RFAs features the IceHogs’ all-time leader in defenseman scoring, Adam Clendening, and first-year ‘Hogs forward, John Hayden, who logged 17 points in 24 AHL games during the regular season. The five UFAs are all notable players from Rockford’s postseason run, but most notably include five-year IceHogs defenseman Viktor Svedberg, who has played each of his 248 career AHL games in Rockford.
Chris DiDomenico, who set Rockford’s all-time playoff scoring record with 18 points in just 13 contests during the 2018 Calder Cup playoffs, was a UFA until Wednesday, when he signed a two-year deal to play in Switzerland’s National League.
Below is a full list of players who skated with the IceHogs this year and are signed with the Chicago Blackhawks through at least the 2018-19 season: J.F. Berube (2018-19), Carl Dahlstrom (2018-19), Delia (2018-19), Victor Ejdsell (2018-19), Gustav Forsling (2018-19), Alexandre Fortin (2019-20), Erik Gustafsson (2019-20), Highmore (2019-20), Matheson Iacopelli (2018-19), Luke Johnson (2018-19), David Kampf (2018-19), Tanner Kero (2018-19), Graham Knott (2019-20), Anthony Louis (2018-19), Andreas Martinsen (2018-19), Nathan Noel (2019-20), Robin Norell (2018-19), Darren Raddysh (2019-20), Tyler Sikura (2018-19), Luc Snuggerud (2019-20) and Joni Tuulola (2019-20).
Vinnie Hinostroza and Tomas Jurco are also restricted free agents. Lance Bouma, Cody Franson and Jeff Glass are unrestricted.
Rules governing NHL UFA status state that a player is eligible after turning 27 or after playing at least seven seasons in the league. Any player who does not meet that threshold, and is out of their Entry Level Contract, becomes an RFA, and teams are eligible for compensatory draft picks if those players sign with a new organization.
Forwards Radovan Bondra, William Pelletier and Henrik Samuelsson are signed to AHL contracts through the 2018-19 season.
Chicago also has Lucas Carlsson (D), Dennis Gilbert (D), Blake Hillman (D), Henri Jokiharju (D), Dominik Kahun (F), Kevin Lankinen (G), Jacob Nilsson (F) and Dylan Sikura (F) under contract for next season.
The 2017-18 season was Rockford’s 11th as Chicago’s American Hockey League affiliate. R.