The Chicago Blackhawks have signed two of their pending restricted free agents, inking Anton Forsberg to a two-year contract and Tomas Jurco for one year. While no details have been released, getting the two restricted free agents under contract early is a nice bonus for the Blackhawks, who will be navigating a difficult salary cap all summer. While Jurco will still be an RFA at the end of the contract, Forsberg could potentially become a Group VI free agent should he play less than 19 games over the next two years.
Acquired last week from the Columbus Blue Jackets as part of the Artemi Panarin deal, Forsberg is the likely backup for Corey Crawford next year. His short experience in the NHL has been very underwhelming, though he’s performed incredibly well in the AHL. He was a big reason the Lake Erie (now Cleveland) Monsters won the 2016 Calder Cup, recording a .949 save percentage after taking over from Joonas Korpisalo. He’ll have big shoes to fill, as Scott Darling has been one of the best backups in the league in recent years and earned himself a starting job with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Jurco on the other hand was acquired from the Detroit Red Wings at the trade deadline but recorded just one point down the stretch for Chicago. Hoping he could be the next Richard Panik, the Blackhawks will try to turn him around and get back to the offensive player he was in junior and the early parts of his professional career. Selected 35th-overall by Detroit in 2011, he’ll need to make an impact soon or will have a hard time finding a regular job around the league.