The Blackhawks have agreed to terms with center Henrik Borgstrom on an entry-level contract, President/GM Stan Bowman announced during an exclusive season ticket-holder interview on the Blackhawks Insider Podcast on Tuesday night. It's a two-year deal that runs through the 2022-23 season and reportedly carries a $1 million cap hit.
Borgstrom's rights, along with forward Brett Connolly, defenseman Riley Stillman and a seventh-round draft pick in 2021, were acquired by the Blackhawks from the Florida Panthers on April 8 in exchange for forward Lucas Wallmark and defenseman Lucas Carlsson.
Borgstrom, 23, was the centerpiece of the deal for the Blackhawks, who expect him to play a top-nine role next season. He spent the 2020-21 campaign in Liiga, where he accumulated 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in 30 games for HIFK and also registered five points (two goals, three assists) in eight postseason contests.
The Blackhawks have high hopes for Borgstrom and are hoping to unlock his full potential at the NHL level.
"Henrik was a dominant college player," Bowman said after the trade. "One of the best college players I’ve seen the last 10 years. Really high-end skill. He did it all in college. He seemed destined for greatness in the NHL. It didn’t happen right away for him. Sometimes that's the case for young players; there's an adaptation to the NHL. He had a pretty good season in the AHL and then last year never really found his way there.
"When you look at his best game, it’s pretty impressive. This year, we’ve been watching him play in Finland and his skill set is very noticeable. He's a big, tall kid, long arms, good reach. He's got the frame, athletic body, skater, hands and he can do a lot of different things with the puck. There’s tremendous upside. Obviously he has to turn that potential into reality. But he’s the kind of player you get excited to work with and we certainly want to do that next season."