CHICAGO – The Blackhawks looked to give their amazing season finisher move a lift by procuring forward Brett Connolly and defenseman Riley Stillman from the Panthers on Thursday in return for forward Lucas Wallmark and defenseman Lucas Carlsson.
The Blackhawks additionally got the rights to prospect Henrik Borgstrom and Florida’s seventh-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft.
The move gives Florida, in the lead position in the Central Division, added pay cap space in front of Monday’s exchange cutoff time. Connolly’s agreement has a compensation cap hit of $3.5 million, and he is endorsed through 2022-23. Stillman’s agreement has a cap hit of $773,333, and he is endorsed through this season.
Leader of hockey activities and senior supervisor Stan Bowman trusts the 28-year-old Connolly and 23-year-old Stillman will join the group this end of the week in Columbus and make quick commitments. Entering Thursday, the Blackhawks were in fifth spot in the Central Division with 41 points, two behind the Nashville Predators for the fourth and last season finisher spot.
The 6-foot-3 Connolly has two objectives and two aids 21 games with Florida this season yet scored 19 objectives last season and had a profession high 22 objectives and 24 helps with the Washington in 2018-19. Bowman said Connolly “has an incredible shot” and will add size to Chicago’s list.
“He was a good player last year,” Bowman said. “It’s not like we’re trying to recapture something that was there five years ago.”
Stillman is known for a physical style. “When he’s on the ice, you know he’s on the ice,” Bowman said.
Borgstrom, Florida’s first-round pick and 23rd by and large in 2016, is playing this season in Finland. A previous champion at the University of Denver, the 23-year-old battled as he attempted to adjust to North American star play during the past three seasons.
Bowman said Borgstrom actually had world class abilities and that he desires to sign the 6-foot-3 forward for next season.
Wallmark and Carlsson were in and out of Chicago’s arrangement this season. Wallmark had three aids 16 games, and Carlsson, viewed as a strong, stay-at-home possibility, had one aid 12 games.