SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has been interested in Drake Caggiula for a while.
He finally got his man.
Chicago acquired Caggiula and defenseman Jason Garrison in a trade with Edmonton on Sunday for defensemen Brandon Manning and Robin Norell. Caggiula will report to the Blackhawks once he resolves a visa issue, while Garrison is headed to the minors if he clears waivers.
The 24-year-old Caggiula played college hockey at North Dakota with former Blackhawks forward Nick Schmaltz and Luke Johnson, a minor leaguer with Chicago. Bowman said he tried to sign Caggiula before he opted for Edmonton instead.
“We didn’t get him then, but we followed his progress over the last couple years, and I love the way he plays,” Bowman said Monday in his first public comments on the deal. “I think he’s going to complement our team. He’s another young forward that brings a lot of energy.”
Caggiula has seven goals and four assists in 29 games this season. He had a career-best 13 goals in 67 games last year.
“He’s got that combination, he plays pretty intense — he’s a smaller guy, but you wouldn’t know it the way he plays,” Bowman said. “Obviously he was a prolific scorer in college, so he’s got the ability to contribute offensively, he’s versatile, plays wing, plays center, so when we had an opportunity to make the deal, I thought we had to take advantage of it.”
The Blackhawks play the Boston Bruins in the Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium on Tuesday. Bowman said they are hoping to have Caggiula’s visa issue resolved by the end of the week.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap