The Chicago Blackhawks have re-signed center Dave Bolland, a member of the 2008-09 squad that reached the Western Conference Final, to a five-year deal. In addition, Chicago also re-signed center Jacob Dowell to a two-year deal and goaltender Antti Niemi (AN-tee, nee-YEH-mee) to a one-year deal.
“This is a first step towards keeping our core together for the future,” Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon said. “We are impressed with the way all three players have developed in our system and look forward to a bright future with them in place.”
Bolland, 23, appeared in 81 of Chicago’s 82 regular-season games last season, ranking sixth on the club with a career-high 19 goals, seventh with a career-best 47 points and ninth with a career-most 28 assists. The Mimico, Ontario, native tied for third on the team with eight assists and fourth with 12 points while appearing in all 17 postseason games during his Stanley Cup Playoff debut.
Chicago’s second choice, 32nd overall, in the 2004 National Hockey League Entry Draft, Bolland has recorded 64 points (23G, 41A) and 80 penalty minutes in 121 games over the last three seasons with the Blackhawks (2006-09). He finished second on the club with a 17.1 shooting percentage and tied for fifth with a +19 plus/minus rating during the 2008-09 regular-season while also chipping in four game-winning goals, tied for third-best.
Niemi, 25, made his National Hockey League debut in three appearances with the Blackhawks last season, posting a 1-1-1 mark with a 3.40 goals-against average and a .846 save percentage, which includes recording his first NHL win in his first NHL start on March 1 against Los Angeles. The Vantaa, Finland, native also led Rockford with a 2.43 goals-against average and shared the team lead with two shutouts, while notching a 18-14-3 record with a .913 save percentage in 38 AHL games during his North American professional debut. Niemi was originally signed by the Blackhawks as a free agent on May 5, 2008, after spending the previous three years in the Finnish Elite League with Pelicans of SM-Liiga.
Dowell, 24, has appeared in 20 games over the last two seasons with the Blackhawks, collecting three points (2G, A) and 12 penalty minutes which includes being held scoreless in one contest last season. The Eau Claire, Wisconsin native ranked second on the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs last season with a pro career-high 128 penalty minutes while also notching 14 assists and 20 points in 75 regular-season contests.
The Blackhawks’ 10th choice (140th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Dowell has appeared in 152 career AHL games since turning pro at the end of the 2006-07 season, racking up 210 penalty minutes and 45 points (17G, 28A) with the Norfolk Admirals (2007) and Rockford (2007-09).