Blackhawks agree to 1-year contract with D Erik Gustafsson

National Sports

CHICAGO (AP)The Chicago Blackhawks brought back Erik Gustafsson on Monday, agreeing to a one-year contract with the free-agent defenseman.

Gustafsson was released by the New York Islanders on Sunday. The deal with Chicago is worth $800,000.

The return of Gustafsson bolsters the Blackhawks’ blue line after they lost young defensemen Caleb Jones and Wyatt Kalynuk to injuries. Jones sprained his left wrist, and Kalynuk sprained his right ankle.

Jones was placed on long-term injured reserve on Monday, and Kalynuk and defenseman Alec Regula went on IR. Regula is dealing with lower back trouble.

The Blackhawks visit Colorado on Wednesday for their season opener.

The 29-year-old Gustafsson made his NHL debut with Chicago in 2015. He set career highs with 17 goals and 43 assists in 79 games for the Blackhawks during the 2018-19 season.

He was traded to Calgary in February 2020 for a third-round draft pick. He played for Philadelphia and Montreal last season, finishing with a goal and 11 assists in 29 games. Gustafsson has 30 goals and 109 assists in 281 NHL games.

The Blackhawks also re-assigned four players to Rockford of the AHL; forwards MacKenzie Entwistle and Philipp Kurashev, and goaltenders Collin Delia and Malcolm Subban.

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