CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks scored plenty of goals last season. The problem was they allowed a bunch, too.
Help has arrived.
Goaltender Robin Lehner and forward Ryan Carpenter agreed to free-agent deals Monday, continuing an active summer for Chicago after it missed the playoffs for the second straight year. The Blackhawks also traded for defensemen Olli Maatta and Calvin de Haan last month, and brought back pesky forward Andrew Shaw in another deal with Montreal.
Lehner got a $5 million, one-year contract after he earned a career-high 25 wins last season with the New York Islanders. He also had a 2.13 goals-against average, .930 save percentage and six shutouts.
The 27-year-old Lehner won the Masterton Trophy this year as the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. He became a Vezina finalist after revealing during training camp that he has struggled with addiction and bipolar disorder.
The arrival of Lehner gives Chicago an enviable situation in goal. Corey Crawford helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2015, but has been hampered by injuries in recent years. Collin Delia also showed signs of promise in limited action last season.
The 28-year-old Carpenter agreed to a three-year contract, giving the Blackhawks another forward who can help on special teams after they finished last in the NHL with a 72.7 penalty-kill percentage.
“My role as a player is a bottom-six forward, a good PKer, a good right-handed face-off centerman,” Carpenter said, “and I think a guy that just does the little things right. Teams that win and make the playoffs and go on long runs, they need those kinds of players to be successful.”
Carpenter had five goals and 13 assists in a career-high 68 games with Vegas last season. Perhaps most importantly for the Blackhawks, he won a career-best 52.6 percent of his face-offs.
“It’s one of those really little details in games that sometimes maybe gets overlooked,” Carpenter said. “I think it’s just something you work on in practice and you kind of never stop working at it. It takes a lot of timing and doing little drills after practice or at pregame skates.”
Carpenter’s deal with Chicago has an average annual value of $1 million.
Carpenter, a Florida native who played college hockey at Bowling Green, made his NHL debut with San Jose in 2015. He was picked up by the Golden Knights after he was waived by the Sharks in December 2017.
Chicago also announced it had agreed to a two-year contract extension with forward David Kampf. The deal has an average annual value of $1 million.
The 24-year-old Kampf has eight goals and 22 assists in 109 career games, all with the Blackhawks over the last two seasons.
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