Blackhawks see Henrik Borgstrom as potential 'big-time player for us'

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Charlie Roumeliotis
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Blackhawks see Borgstrom as potential 'big-time player' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Blackhawks have made it clear they're not going to be buyers ahead of Monday's NHL trade deadline. But that doesn't mean they're not looking to add to their roster in a different way, and that's what they did on Thursday.

The Blackhawks utilized their $20-plus-million in cap space to acquire forward Brett Connolly, defenseman Riley Stillman, the rights to forward prospect Henrik Borgstrom and a seventh-round pick in 2021 from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Lucas Wallmark and defenseman Lucas Carlsson.

Connolly, 28, has two more years left on his contract after this season that carries a $3.5 million cap hit, while Stillman, 23, is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season ($773,333 cap hit).

But the prized player in the deal for the Blackhawks is Borgstrom, who was drafted No. 23 overall in 2016. He caught the team's attention when following their own prospects Blake Hillman and Ian Mitchell at Denver, where he compiled 95 points (45 goals, 50 assists) in 77 games across two seasons.

"Henrik was a dominant college player," President of hockey operations and GM Stan Bowman said. "One of the best college players I’ve seen the last 10 years. Really high-end skill. He did it all in college."

That success hasn't translated at the NHL level, though.

Borgstrom was named an AHL All-Star in 2018-19 after accumulating 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 24 games for the Springfield Thunderbirds, but he registered only 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) in 58 games over a three-year span with the Panthers and eventually fell out of favor. 

"It didn’t happen right away for him," Bowman said. "Sometimes that's the case for young players. There's an adaptation to the NHL. He had a pretty good season in the AHL and then last year never really found his way there."

Instead of signing a new contract with Florida over the offseason, Borgstrom took his talents to Finland, where he has 19 points (11 goals, eight assists) in 27 games for HIFK of Liiga this year. He's been much better and producing at a rate he's used to.

While he won't join Chicago this season, the Blackhawks expect him to be with the team for the 2021-22 season and are hoping to unlock his full potential. And if they do, Bowman believes Borgstrom can be a "big-time player for us."

"When you look at his best game, it’s pretty impressive," Bowman said. "This year, we’ve been watching him play in Finland and his skill set is very noticeable. He's a big, tall kid, long arms, good reach. He's got the frame, athletic body, skater, hands and he can do a lot of different things with the puck. There’s tremendous upside.

"Obviously he has to turn that potential into reality. But he’s the kind of player you get excited to work with, and we certainly want to do that next season."

Click here to subscribe to the Blackhawks Talk Podcast for free.

Download

Download MyTeams Today!