The Chicago Blackhawks bolstered their defense with a familiar face on Monday. The team announced the reunion with defenseman Erik Gustafsson, who signed a one-year deal with the franchise.
According to the official announcement, Gustafsson will earn $800,000 in the 2021-22 NHL season. The 29-year-old player was previously on a professional tryout contract with the New York Islanders.
Chicago’s decision to sign Gustafsson is an interesting one, as it seemed that their team was already deep on the defensive end. The Blackhawks might view him as an insurance policy, because both Wyatt Kalynuk and Caleb Jones recently struggled with injuries.
The deal sees Gustafsson return to the place where he started his NHL career. The Swede made his debut in the league in 2015-16 as a member of the Blackhawks and ended up spending four seasons with the franchise. He played 214 games and contributed with 116 points (28 goals and 88 assists) before being traded to the Calgary Flames midway through 2019-20.
Gustafsson’s stint with the Flames was only seven games long as the organization decided not to offer him a new deal after becoming a free agent. He ended up splitting 2020-21 with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Montreal Canadiens.
Gustafsson has 250 NHL games to his name, scoring 29 goals and adding 102 assists for a total of 131 points.