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FEATURE: Blackhawks think Maatta can be steadying defensive force

Blackhawks Senior Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman continues to check off items on his offseason to-do list by adding defenseman Olli Maatta.

by Chris Kuc / Blackhawks.com

Blackhawks Senior Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman continues to check off items on his offseason to-do list.

A main order of business was to bolster a defense that struggled for much of the 2018-19 season and Bowman addressed that with Saturday's trade with the Penguins that brought veteran blueliner Olli Maatta to the Blackhawks in exchange for forward Dominik Kahun and a fifth-round selection in the upcoming 2019 NHL Draft.

"There are a lot of things to like about Olli Maatta," Bowman said during a conference call Sunday. "Certainly, his strength in the last few seasons has been his ability to be a good, reliable defender. He's got good size - not necessarily he is a bruising defenseman - but I like the fact that he's got an active stick. He's good at using his body to shield in front of the net and I think he's shown the ability to be used in several different situations over the past few years in Pittsburgh."

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RELEASE: Blackhawks Acquire Maatta

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations / Blackhawks.com

The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that they have acquired defenseman Olli Maatta (OH-lee MA-TA) from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward Dominik Kahun and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 National Hockey League Draft. Maatta's contract has an AAV of $4,083,333 and is signed through the 2021-22 season.

Maatta, a two-time Stanley Cup champion (2016 and 2017), recorded 14 points (1G, 13A), was third on the team with 116 blocked shots and logged 97 hits in 60 regular-season games during the 2018-19 season. He has skated in 69 postseason games in his career, scoring 21 points (2G, 19A).

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BLOG: Greatest NHL Waiver Deal Ever?

Harvey Wittenberg looks back at the anniversary of the waiver deal that brought a legend to Chicago

by Harvey Wittenberg / Blackhawks.com

There's no doubt that June 15, 1969 marks the greatest waiver deal ever in Blackhawks history and arguably the biggest in NHL history! On that day, Chicago GM Tommy Ivan picked up rookie goalie Tony Esposito on waivers from the defending Stanley Cup Champion Montreal for $25,000.

There were numerous ramifications and coincidences that reverberated from that deal. Refreshing the many memories from that June 15 date, Montreal had won its second straight Cup and its fourth in five seasons while the Hawks missed the playoffs despite having a winning record while finishing last in their division.

Montreal GM Sam Pollack and Coach Claude Ruel decided to keep veteran goalies Rogie Vachon and Gump Worsley even though the rookie Esposito performed well in 13 games for Canadiens the previous season.

Going into the 1969-70 campaign, Hawk coach Billy Reay found himself with six rookies in his lineup, but always preferred to go with veteran players. The season started off like a disaster with veteran netminder Denis DeJordy. Chicago had lost its first five games before managing a tie with the Rangers. Reay decided to give Tony Esposito his first Blackhawks start at Montreal on October 25 and the rookie blanked the champions and his former team in the Forum 5-0.

Alternating Tony with DeJordy, the rookie blanked Toronto 9-0 for his 2nd shutout two weeks later.

Seeking revenge on November 16th at the Stadium, Tony "O" again blanked the Canadiens 1-0. Tony went on to register a modern-day 15 shutouts, to win the Calder Trophy for top rookie, Vezina Trophy for best goalie, first team All Star and finished second in MVP voting.

Tony was in goal when the Hawks knocked the Canadiens out of the playoffs in the final game of the regular season 10-2. With that win, the Hawks finished in first place one point ahead of Boston, which marked the first time in NHL history that a team went from last place in one season to first place the next.

Video: One More Shift: Esposito Brothers

Tony holds the Blackhawks records for most wins (413) and shutouts (74) and was named to the NHL Hall of Fame in addition to having his jersey (#35) retired and hanging in the rafters at the United Center. Tony and his brother Phill were honored at the UC on April 3rd with One More Shift. Tony ranks 11th on the all-time NHL shutout list with 76.

Pretty good deal for the $25,000 waiver price on June 15, 1969.  

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Blackhawks Draft Resume: Trevor Zegras

A USNTDP playmaker with high-level potential? He should be there when the Blackhawks pick at #3. Meet Trevor Zegras.

by Austin Siegel / Blackhawks.com

With the 2019 NHL Draft approaching, the Blackhawks will make their highest pick since 2007 - when they selected a teenager from Buffalo named Patrick Kane first overall. This week, Blackhawks.com will take a look at five top prospects Chicago will likely be considering if consensus top picks Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko are off the board in Vancouver. 

Next up is playmaking center Trevor Zegras of the U.S. National Team Development Program:

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Blackhawks Draft Resume: Alex Turcotte

He grew up in Chicago, lit the lamp with the USNTDP and should be available in the 2019 NHL Draft. Meet Alex Turcotte.

by Austin Siegel / Blackhawks.com

With the 2019 NHL Draft approaching, the Blackhawks will make their highest pick since 2007 - when they selected a teenager from Buffalo named Patrick Kane first overall. This week, Blackhawks.com will take a look at five top prospects Chicago will likely be considering if consensus top picks Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko are off the board in Vancouver. 

Next up is homegrown center Alex Turcotte of the U.S. National Team Development Program:

 

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FEATURE: Kuc Has Seen Some Things

Senior Writer Chris Kuc remembers Chicago Stadium and Stanley Cup celebrations as he joins Blackhawks.com

by Chris Kuc / Blackhawks.com

When people ask me about my career as a sportswriter, I often find myself starting off by saying, "I've seen some things."

It's my way of beginning the process to collect my thoughts before reminiscing about some of the amazing people and events that I've been fortunate enough to chronicle throughout the years.

Most of those experiences revolve around the Blackhawks, a team of which I was a fan while growing up in the Chicago area. 

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RELEASE: Blackhawks add Chris Kuc to Digital Content Team

Kuc will be part of a digital group whose goal is to provide Blackhawks fans with the most comprehensive team news and information

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations / Blackhawks.com

The Chicago Blackhawks today announced the hiring of veteran journalist Chris Kuc as senior writer. In his new role with the Blackhawks, Kuc will be part of a digital group whose goal is to provide Blackhawks fans with the most comprehensive team news and information they can find anywhere.

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PHOTOS: Greatest Third Picks in NHL History

From Denis Savard to Henrik Sedin, meet the highest-scoring third picks of all time

by Chicago Blackhawks Photography Staff and Getty Images / Blackhawks.com

10. Mike Foligno - 727 points

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Blackhawks Draft Resume: Kirby Dach

With No. 1 center potential and a 6'4' frame, the most physically gifted player in the Draft should be available at #3. Meet Kirby Dach.

by Austin Siegel / Blackhawks.com

With the 2019 NHL Draft approaching, the Blackhawks will make their highest pick since 2007 - when they selected a teenager from Buffalo named Patrick Kane first overall. This week, Blackhawks.com will take a look at five top prospects Chicago will likely be considering if consensus top picks Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko are off the board in Vancouver. 

Next up is imposing center Kirby Dach of the Saskatoon Blades:

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Blackhawks Draft Resume: Dylan Cozens

Could the Blackhawks land the Yukon's first NHL star with the third pick? Meet Dylan Cozens.

by Austin Siegel / Blackhawks.com

With the 2019 NHL Draft approaching, the Blackhawks will make their highest pick since 2007 - when they selected a teenager from Buffalo named Patrick Kane first overall. This week, Blackhawks.com will take a look at five top prospects Chicago will likely be considering if consensus top picks Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko are off the board in Vancouver. 

Next up is well-rounded WHL center Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes:

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