Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman has surfaced this offseason with some organizational housekeeping. Bowman has yet to make any big-money signings, but there is something to be said for the two moves he made at the end of this past week.
As was first reported by RDS' Renaud Lavoie via his Twitter account, forward Jamal Mayers was re-signed by the Blackhawks on Friday to a one-year, $600,000 contract. This came on the heels of news that Chicago had inked goalie Mac Carruth to an entry-level deal.
Neither signing is going to make headlines around the league. That said, both moves will have an impact in the organization.
The Blackhawks chose to partake in another helping of Mayers' energy game on the fourth line. Bowman is going to hope for a similar performance to this past season's six-goal, nine-assist showing. Chicago should be able to count on numbers similar to Mayers' past four season—14 to 16 points and a faceoff-success rate in the 54-57 percent range in his 10 minutes a night..
Will Mayers play in another 81 games next season and be as effective doing so? He's been a durable player in the course of his career and garners respect in the locker room.
Bowman needs to add some ruggedness further up the lineup, so hopefully this is the first of several signings in this area. For a fourth-line guy who's bringing his lunch every night, he could have done much worse for just over the NHL minimum salary.
Carruth just finished his second season as the starting goalie of the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL. He just finished the playoffs with Portland losing four games to three to Edmonton in the league finals. He finished the playoffs with a 2.89 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage in 22 games.
That came after 63 regular-season games, where Carruth posted a 2.96 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage. Carruth also helped Portland to the WHL Finals in 2010-11.
Carruth, who was Chicago's seventh-round selection in 2010, is 20 years old. The 'Hawks also have Kent Simpson, a second-rounder in 2010, as well as Johan Mattsson, last summer's seventh-round pick. Simpson needs to be signed to a contract by June 1 or Chicago will lose its rights.
I would expect Simpson to sign an entry-level deal in the next few days. All three players could return to juniors next season, though it's possible Bowman has plans for Carruth somewhere in the organization.
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