The Chicago Blackhawks have agreed to terms with several of their impending restricted free agents, including defenseman Ville Pokka and goaltender Anton Forsberg.
Forsberg, whom the Blackhawks acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in the trade that sent Artemi Panarin east, inked a two year contract with the team on Monday afternoon.
Pokka, a defensive prospect who will likely get a shot to make the Blackhawks’ lineup out of training camp this season, signed a one-year pact with the team on Tuesday evening. Pokka scored six goals and dished out 24 assists for the Rockford IceHogs last season in AHL play.
The Blackhawks also agreed to terms with winger Tomas Jurco, who was acquired in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings earlier this year. Jurco struggled mightily when he came to the Blackhawks, scoring one goal in 13 games, but he’ll be hoping to secure a spot in the bottom six forward group in training camp this fall.
According to reports, the Blackhawks also opted not to extend a qualifying offer to forward Dennis Rasmussen, which will make him an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Rasmussen, who was not protected by the Blackhawks in the lead-up to the NHL Expansion Draft earlier this month, scored four goals and registered four assists in 68 games with the Blackhawks this season.
His departure likely means the Blackhawks will target another center in free agency, or that they are willing to go into the season with a player like Laurent Dauphin, acquired in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes earlier this month, as one of their centers.
According to CapFriendly, the only restricted free agent that the Blackhawks have yet to make a decision on is defenseman Erik Gustafsson, with reports out that negotiations are ongoing with the blue liner.
The team will have five NHL players hitting unrestricted free agency when the July 1 signing period rolls around, including Andrew Desjardins, Brian Campbell, and Johnny Oduya.