Defenseman prospect Robin Norell has signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team announced Thursday. The move comes a day after Norell had agreed to an amateur tryout contract with the Hawks' AHL affiliate in Rockford.
Norell's contract with Chicago will begin next season and have an annual cap hit of $715,833, according to General Fanager. He will still be joining the IceHogs for the remainder of this season on his tryout contract.
The entry-level deal for Norell makes him the second player from the 2013 NHL Draft that Chicago has signed. Former first-round pick Ryan Hartman has already been in the organization for years. Another big name from that draft is Tyler Motte, who was selected just 10 picks after Norell in the fourth round. Motte has had a breakout season at the University of Michigan in 2015-16.
Norell, 21, has spent the past two seasons playing for Djurgårdens of the Swedish Hockey League and now will try to prove his mettle in Rockford in order to get a look at the NHL level.
A solid defensive defenseman who has been praised for his hockey sense, Norell recorded two goals and six assists in 51 SHL games this season. During his debut season with Djurgårdens in 2014-15, Norell had three goals and six assists in 48 games. He also appeared in three playoff games with Rockford last year before returning to Sweden.
Djurgårdens got eliminated from the SHL playoffs in the first round, which freed up Norell to make the leap back to North America. He likely won't be the final prospect who gets a look this spring. Top NCAA players like Nick Schmaltz and Motte could sign soon and the Hawks often pursue well-regarded college free agents as well.