The Chicago Blackhawks signed defenseman prospect Dennis Gilbert to a three-year entry-level deal, the team announced Friday. He will forego his senior season at Notre Dame and report to the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL for the Calder Cup playoffs.
Gilbert, 21, who was drafted in the third round in 2015 by Chicago, played the last three seasons at Notre Dame, where he emerged as one of the best defensive defenseman in the country. The Fighting Irish made back-to-back Frozen Four appearances and lost the 2018 NCAA national championship game to Minnesota-Duluth with Gilbert anchoring its blueline.
The 6-foot-2, 198-pound defenseman scored four goals and had six assists in 39 games during his junior season. Two of his goals were shorthanded, which led all NCAA defenseman. He also had 12 blocked shots in four tournament games.
Gilbert, a left-handed shot, is the fourth Chicago prospect to sign with the team this spring. The Hawks also signed defensemen Blake Hillman and Joni Tuulola and forward Dylan Sikura. Both Hillman and Sikura had their respective NCAA seasons end early and burned one year on their NHL contracts by playing with the Hawks.
The Hawks’ three-year deal with Gilbert will start next season and run through 2020-21. A salary-cap hit hasn’t been reported, yet.