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FEATURE: Blackhawks continue to bolster defense with de Haan acquisition

28-year-old keeps it simple, not flashy

by Chris Kuc /

When Calvin de Haan inked a lucrative four-year, free-agent contract with the Hurricanes last summer, the defenseman expected to settle in Raleigh, N.C. for the foreseeable future.

But the NHL is a business and de Haan was on that end of it Monday when the Blackhawks acquired the 28-year-old along with forward Aleksi Saarela from the Hurricanes in exchange for goaltender Anton Forsberg and defenseman Gustav Forsling.

"I'm still kind of in shock, to be honest," de Haan said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday. "I didn't think it was going to be me. After Carolina signed me last summer my fiance and I thought we were going to have some roots there, but I get it, it's a business."

Calling the time since the trade a "whirlwind," de Haan said he has embraced the idea of joining the Blackhawks, who under Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman have been bolstering the team's defensive group.

"Obviously, Stan and the Blackhawks made a deal for me and I feel like I'm wanted," de Haan said. "I'm really looking forward to this opportunity with this organization." 

Along with the addition of defenseman Olli Maatta on June 15, Bowman has addressed the need to keep pucks out of the Blackhawks' net both at full strength and on the penalty kill.

"I've always tried to play a simple game," de Haan said. "Nothing flashy, just kind of get the job done and I hope Blackhawks fans will really appreciate my game.

"Obviously, special teams are massive and … something I've always taken pride in is killing penalties," he continued. "I'm looking forward to getting the opportunity to do that with this organization. I'm really getting excited now."

De Haan's first order of business is to complete his recovery from May 21 shoulder surgery. The timeline for a return to game action following the surgery was four to six months and de Haan said Tuesday that five weeks into the process "things are progressing well."

"I like to think I'm ahead of schedule," de Haan said. "I've had shoulder surgeries in the past as well where I know how this goes and I'm going to make sure I'm ready for (training) camp. Then it's going to be up to the training staff and the doctors (about) whether they want me to play or take a few weeks here and there and just progress slowly.

"But my main goal is to be ready for camp. I don't want to sit on the sidelines, I want to be on the ice with the guys and out there grinding away and try to get the team back in the playoffs."

Also on the offseason docket is settling into a new place.

"It's bittersweet but at the same time we get to join a world-class organization in a world-class city," de Haan said. "There's a lot of good history in the past 10 to 5 years that the Blackhawks have created. It's something I'm really looking forward to to be a part of the tradition. It's going to be fun."

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