Article By: Nate Haeni
05/04/2012 10:57 AM - Although every offseason brings change for every organization, the Rockford IceHogs should have a solid core of players returning to the BMO Harris Bank Center ice for the 2012-13 season.
Of the 27 players to suit up in over 20 games for the IceHogs in 2011-12, 16 of them are under contract for next season. That number does not include restricted free agents Brandon Bollig and Ben Smith, along with Kyle Beach who is under contract but missed a significant portion of the season due to injury.
Overall by position, two goaltenders, five defenseman and 11 forwards that suited up for Rockford are under contract.
Free agency begins on July 1 but teams can sign their own free agents before then.
The following is a breakdown of each player and the status of their contract.
FORWARDS UNDER CONTRACT (11)
Kyle Beach: Despite missing 57 games with an upper body injury, the second-year pro put up five goals and five assists in 19 games. Beach is under contract with Chicago through the 2012-13 campaign.
Terry Broadhurst: Broadhurst signed a two-year entry level contract with the Blackhawks on 3/19/12. Following his junior season at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Broadhurst joined the IceHogs squad and recorded two assists in eight contests.
Byron Froese: The 2012-13 campaign will be Froese’s second season on his three-year entry level deal with Chicago. The rookie winger potted 10 points (4g-6a) with Rockford and two points (1g-1a) with Toledo in his first professional season.
David Gilbert: Gilbert inked a three-year entry level contract on 5/31/11 and split time with the IceHogs and Walleye in his first full professional campaign. The Chateauguay, Quebec native scored six goals and dished out 12 assists in 29 games with Toledo and recorded five points (1g-4a) in 28 tilts with Rockford.
Jimmy Hayes: In the first year of his three-year entry level contract with Chicago, the 6-5 winger split time between Rockford and Chicago. Hayes tallied 23 points (7g-16a) in 33 games with the IceHogs, to go along with his five goals and four assists in 31 contests in Chicago.
Peter LeBlanc: The Blackhawks rewarded LeBlanc with a one-year NHL contract for the 2012-13 season after the Hamilton, Ont. native racked up a career-high 24 goals and 44 points. LeBlanc’s goal output led all IceHogs skaters.
Jeremy Morin: After missing most of the 2010-11 season with an injury, the second year-pro notched 18 goals, third best for Rockford. Morin is locked up through 2013-14 with the Blackhawks.
Rostislav Olesz: Started the season with Chicago but joined the IceHogs after 14 contests and ranked third on the team with 41 points (17g-24a), despite missing the team’s final five games with an injury. Acquired by the Blackhawks in a trade with Florida on 6/24/11, Olesz is under contract through 2013-14.
Philippe Paradis: The IceHogs hardest hitter in 2011-12 is under contract through the 2013-14 season. Paradis registered 16 points in 58 games during his rookie campaign.
Brandon Pirri: Rockford’s leader in scoring (56 points), assists (33), plus/minus rating (+9), multi-point games (17), power-play points (17) and shots (213) will be entering his third season with his contract set to expire after the 2013-14 campaign.
Andrew Shaw: Earned a three-year entry level NHL deal three months into his rookie season (1/3/12). The 20 year-old split time with Rockford and Chicago, racking up identical numbers with 12 goals and 11 assists on each level.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (3)
Brandon Bollig: Starting the season in Rockford, Bollig earned his NHL recall on 2/27/12 and registered a fighting major in his NHL debut against Toronto. Overall, the St. Charles, Mo. native led the IceHogs with 163 penalty minutes and his 58 PIMs with Chicago ranked third best on the squad.
Chris DiDomenico: DiDomenico made the shuffle back and forth between the IceHogs and Walleye in 2011-12. In 49 games with Rockford, DiDomenico put up 13 points (2g-11a) and added in 17 points (4g-13a) in 17 contests with Toledo.
Ben Smith: Despite missing Rockford’s final 15 games and shuffling between the IceHogs and Blackhawks during the regular season, Smith matched his point output from his rookie campaign with 15 goals and 16 assists. In 13 games with the Blackhawks, the Avon, Conn. native registered two goals.
AHL CONTRACTS THAT EXPIRE (6): Wade Brookbank, Rob Flick, Matt Fornataro, Brandon Svendsen, David Toews and Paul Zanette
DEFENSEMEN UNDER CONTRACT (5)
Shawn Lalonde: Entering his final year on his three-year entry level deal, Lalonde is coming off a season in which he racked up a career high 100 penalty minutes, to go along with 13 points (2g-11a) from the IceHogs blue line.
Joe Lavin: Named Rockford’s Rookie of the Year in 2011-12, Lavin amassed three goals and 14 helpers in 71 tilts. The 2012-13 campaign will be the final season of a two-year entry level contract Lavin signed with the Blackhawks on 4/11/11.
Dylan Olsen: Olsen was one of four IceHogs skaters to earn their first NHL recall during the 2011-12 campaign. With the IceHogs, the second year d-man recorded seven points in 44 contests, and added an assist in 28 games with Chicago. The Calgary, Alb. native is under contract with Chicago through 2013-14.
Ryan Stanton: The IceHogs Top Defenseman in 2011-12 appeared in all 76 contests and matched his rookie point output with three goals and 14 assists, to go along with a career-best 130 penalty minutes. Stanton inked a three-year entry level deal with the Blackhawks on 3/12/10, making the 2012-13 season the final year in his contract.
Ben Youds: The first year d-man earned a one-year AHL contract for 2012-13 with the IceHogs after being named Rockford’s Most Improved Player. Youds put up four goals and 13 assists in 57 contests for Rockford.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (1)
Simon Danis-Pepin: After playing out his final year of a three-year entry level deal, Danis-Pepin heads into the offseason as a restricted free agent. The d-man recorded nine points in 25 games with Toledo but was held scoreless in 14 tilts with the IceHogs.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (2): Brian Fahey and Connor Goggin (ATO)
GOALTENDERS UNDER CONTRACT (2)
Alec Richards: Richards split time between Rockford and Toledo after starting the campaign with the IceHogs. The Robbinsdale, Minn. native backstopped the IceHogs in 22 games, going 7-11-2 with a 3.52 goals against average and .894 save percentage. The 2012-13 season will be Richards’ final of a two-year contract he signed with Chicago on 7/11/11.
Alexander Salak: Signed through the 2012-13 season, Salak finished the season with a 6-10-0 record to go along with a 2.69 goals against average and .903 save percentage. The Strakonice, Czech Republic native missed 28 games for Rockford with an injury and returned to the lineup and primarily served as a backup to Carter Hutton.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (1)
Carter Hutton: After a slow start, Hutton emerged as the #1 goaltender in Rockford and was named the team’s MVP after he finished the season out strong, compiling an overall record of 22-13-4 with a 2.35 goals against average and .917 save percentage.