The Chicago Blackhawks announced today the team has agreed to terms with five free agents, including right wing Troy Brouwer to a two-year contract, goaltender Corey Crawford to a two-year contract, left wing Ben Eager to a one-year contract, center Colin Fraser to a one-year contact and defenseman Aaron Johnson to a one-year contract.
“I am happy to have these five players back with us. They are quality individuals who played an important role with us last season and their talents are a big part of our goals for next season,” said General Manager Dale Tallon.
Brouwer, 23, appeared in 69 regular-season games with Chicago during his first full National Hockey League campaign last season, ranking second among team rookies with 10 goals, 16 assists and 26 points and third overall on the squad with 125 hits. The Vancouver, British Columbia, native also tallied two assists and tied for third on the club with 50 hits in 17 tilts during his Stanley Cup Playoff debut. Chicago’s 13th choice, 214th overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Brouwer has tallied 27 points (10G, 17A) in 81 career matchups over parts of three seasons with the club (2006-09). He has also notched 78 goals and 141 points in 146 career American Hockey League regular-season contests with the Norfolk Admirals (2006-07) and Rockford IceHogs (2007-08) since turning pro.
Crawford, 24, appeared in one game with the Blackhawks last season, posting six saves on seven shots in 11:51 of action in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final against Detroit on May 24. The Montreal native spent the majority of the 2008-09 campaign with Rockford, leading the club with 22 wins (22-20-3) and a .917 save percentage while notching a 2.59 goals-against average in 47 appearances during the regular season. He has appeared in seven games with the Blackhawks since making his debut in 2005-06, notching a 1-2-1 mark with a 2.51 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage.
Eager, 25, posted career highs in goals (11), points (15) and games played (74) with the Blackhawks during the 2008-09 regular season, while leading the team and ranking 13th in the NHL with 161 penalty minutes. The Ottawa, Ontario, native led the league with 61 penalty minutes and recorded two points (G, A) in 17 games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Eager has racked up 501 penalty minutes and 36 points (20G, 16A) in 195 career NHL outings over parts of four seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers (2005-08) and Blackhawks (2008-09).
Fraser, 24, appeared in 81 of Chicago’s 82 regular-season games in 2008-09, his first full NHL season, ranking third among club rookies in goals (6), assists (11) and points (17) while accruing 55 penalty minutes. The Sicamous, British Columbia, native also posted two penalty minutes in two contests during his Stanley Cup Playoff debut. Fraser has appeared in 87 career games with Chicago over the past three seasons, which includes racking up nine penalty minutes in six combined contests in 2006-07 and 2007-08. He has also registered 488 penalty minutes and 102 points (41G, 61A) in 220 career AHL games in the Blackhawks system with the Norfolk Admirals (2004-07) and IceHogs (2007-08).
Johnson, 26, matched a career high with three goals and posted eight points in 38 regular-season games with the Blackhawks last season. The Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia native tied for fifth on the team with a +19 plus/minus rating, which includes posting an even or plus rating in 35 of his 38 contests. He has appeared in 184 career regular-season NHL contests over the last five seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets (2003-07), New York Islanders (2007-08) and Blackhawks (2008-09), recording 36 points (10G, 26A) and 156 penalty minutes.