The Chicago Blackhawks brought Patrick Sharp back into the fold earlier, and also have announced three other signings. Jean-Francois Berube, Jordan Oesterle and Lance Bouma will join the club, adding a backup goaltender, bottom six forward and depth defenseman to the team as they look to work around their current cap problems. Both Berube and Oesterle will be on two-year deals, with Berube earning $1.5MM per season while Oesterle gets the minimum of $650K. Bouma, recently bought out by the Calgary Flames will be on a one-year deal, though his salary has yet to be announced.
Berube was a Group VI free agent this summer after being selected in the expansion draft by the Vegas Golden Knights. The 25-year old will join Corey Crawford and Anton Forsberg in the Chicago net, attempting to at least get some more playing time than he’s seen so far in his career. In 21 career games, he’s recorded a .900 save percentage and gone 6-4-3.
Oesterle, another Group VI free agent from the Edmonton Oilers, got into just two games last season at the NHL level. A strong performer in the minor leagues, the defenseman could battle for a spot in Chicago next season. He finished with seven goals and 25 assists in 44 AHL games for the Bakersfield Condors last year.
Bouma may be the most interesting of the three, after being bought out by the Calgary Flames this week. A third-round selection in 2008, Bouma actually put up a 34-point season in 2014-15 before settling into a much reduced role the last couple of years. If the Blackhawks can unlock any of that scoring potential once again, they could have an extremely cheap but effective option for their bottom six next year.