The Chicago Blackhawks have agreed to terms with two of their international prospects, signing Mikael Hakkarainen and Tim Soderlund to three-year entry-level contracts. Both deals will carry the maximum $925K cap hit in the NHL.
Hakkarainen, 21, was the 139th overall pick in 2018 and continued his career with the Muskegon Lumberjacks after a single game with Providence College to start the year. The forward left the college after being unhappy with the sport-school balance, and ended up setting a new high with 47 points in 42 games for Muskegon. That apparently impressed the Blackhawks enough to sign him to his entry-level deal, though it is not clear where his next step will be. Hakkarainen could go to the Rockford IceHogs next season or head back overseas to continue his development.
Soderlund, 21, was the team’s fourth round pick in 2017 and played another full season in the SHL. While he only recorded 14 points in 48 games, his skating ability and relentless energy are the traits that will serve him well in a transition to North American hockey. Soderlund stands just 5’9″, but is an excellent forechecker that has found plenty of success at the international level. In 2018 he took home a silver medal at the World Juniors with Sweden, recording five points in seven games.