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Forward Desjardins agrees to terms with Blackhawks

by Brian Hedger / NHL.com

CHICAGO -- Andrew Desjardins could've gotten a bigger raise by leaving the Chicago Blackhawks as an unrestricted free agent. What he couldn't have gotten is the familiarity and comfort he has with the Blackhawks.

Rather than leaving for more money elsewhere, Desjardins on Friday agreed to terms on a two-year contract worth $1.6 million to stay with the Stanley Cup champions.

"Obviously, the key thing is we loved it there, [my] entire family," said Desjardins, who had one goal and three assists in 21 games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. "It came down to just that, how much we enjoyed the city [and] how much we enjoyed the organization. It was a great experience. That made it an easy decision for us."

Desjardins, 28, was acquired by the Blackhawks in a trade with the San Jose Sharks at the NHL Trade Deadline on March 2. He worked his way into a contributing role at left wing on the fourth line in the postseason, playing with center Marcus Kruger and Andrew Shaw.

Shaw has one year left on his contract, and Kruger is a restricted free agent, but general manager Stan Bowman said earlier this week that negotiations are going well.

"I think we obviously ended the season on a good note, so I feel like if it did happen, hopefully we can continue that chemistry and build it from there," Desjardins said.

Desjardins scored an NHL career-high five goals playing 69 games last season for the Sharks and Blackhawks. He had 50 points (15 goals) in 285 NHL games.

Desjardins started the postseason as a healthy scratch for the first two games against the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference First Round. He debuted in Game 3 and scored in a 4-2 victory. From that point, he and Shaw steadily helped Kruger increase the line's puck-possession numbers by winning more battles.

"It's still one of those things where you never really know why it works so well," Desjardins said of the line's chemistry. "Just being on the same page, I think we all understood what we had to do out there, and I think we pushed each other to do the right things. We always supported each other really well."

Despite some on-ice squabbles with Shaw and other Blackhawks while with the Sharks, it didn't take long for Desjardins to mesh with his new teammates.

"It felt like a pretty quick transition," he said. "The guys were great, and I talked about how welcoming they were, and the trust kind of happened pretty quick with the [coaches]."

Starting over with a new team, even if it meant more money, wasn't appealing enough to pry Desjardins away.

"That's what it came down to," said Todd Reynolds, Desjardins' agent. "He loved it there. He looked at the other options, but a player gets a sense for how they fit in and how they're utilized. It's a comfort level. You put all those things together and compare them to the unknown or the uncertainties, and you say, 'I want to make this work and make it fit.' He took considerably less to stay in Chicago."

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