Proud American Hockey League Affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks

Buy Tickets

News

HJALMARSSON'S COMING INTO HIS OWN IN CHICAGO

By: Mike Peck
Photo courtesy of Blackhawks.com
05/19/2009 8:47 AM -

Rockford, Ill.- If one were to cross paths with Niklas Hjalmarsson in public, one wouldn’t think the Chicago Blackhawks defenseman was an imposing figure.  At 6-1, 200-pound, The Eksjo, Sweden native plays a lot bigger than his vitals read.

The smooth-skating defenseman has locked in his spot in the Chicago lineup and ever since a March recall from Rockford, Hjalmarsson has helped provide a physical presence on the ice.

After an injury-riddled beginning to his professional hockey career in North American in 2007-08, Hjalmarsson adjusted nicely to the style of hockey on this side of the pond.  A hand injury kept Hjalmarsson out of the line up right out of the gates during his rookie season.

The hand injury didn’t subside and after six games Hjalmarsson was shelved for 19 more contests to ensure there would be no more lingering effects.  That proved critical in his development as the blue-liner got his first shot with Chicago late last February.

Hjalmarsson then made the Blackhawks out of training camp this season, but a rib injury in Chicago’s opener in New York forced him to the Injured Reserve and eventually back down to Rockford.

“After I got injured (with Chicago) in the beginning of the season I had a pretty rough time in the beginning there in Rockford,” said Hjalmarsson.  “I felt like Chicago was pretty far away.  You just have to take the chance when you get it and play as good as you can and try to contribute.”

Before getting labeled injury prone, Hjalmarsson didn’t miss another game in ’08-09 and after a slow start in Rockford, once again the defenseman progressed enough for another late season recall. 

The difference this time around was that Hjalmarsson never returned to Rockford and has earned a spot and a regular shift with the Blackhawks.  Hjalmarsson finished the season with 21 games in Chicago, notching a goal and two assists after skating in 52 contests with Rockford.

“You have to be patient, that’s it I think,” said Hjalmarsson. “And you have to be confident.  I know I’m a good player and I know that I can play in the NHL against the best players in the world.”

Hjalmarsson has proved just that and his physical presence has done a lot of talking. In the Western Conference Quarterfinals Hjalmarsson laid out Calgary Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf. 

If you need further proof that Hjalmarsson will hit anyone, just flashback to his stint in Rockford this season when he crushed San Antonio’s notorious tough guy Francis Lessard or when he leveled Peoria’s bruising defenseman and St. Louis Blues prospect Steve Wagner.

A lot of prospect sites have tagged Hjalmarsson as an offensive style defenseman.  In 52 games with Rockford, he had two goals and 16 assists.  The offense for Hjalmarsson will develop and with the likes of Brian Campbell, Cam Barker and Duncan Keith, Hjalmarsson won’t feel the pressure to produce points from on top for a while.

With the above mentioned defenseman shouldering most of the offensive burden from the “D”, Hjalmarsson should be able to develop rather then be thrust into a role in which he isn’t ready for.

A lot is made of the youthful Blackhawks and the players that are usually mentioned when talking about the young team include Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Barker, Seabrook and others.  Hjalmarsson is not often mentioned in this group, but the 21-year old is well on his way to developing into a nice piece in Chicago’s long term puzzle.

Season Ticket Are On Sale:  Find a 2009-10 ticket package that works for you, call 815-847-6399 to speak with a IceHogs season ticket representative.  Packages range from five game packages up to full season Arena Club season tickets.



Search Archive »




Browse by Year »

2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
200

Browse by Month »

September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010

December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
December 0200