Blackhawks’ general manager Stan Bowman had a busy Tuesday.
Chicago signed defenseman Isaak Phillips early on Tuesday, as he agreed to a three-year entry-level contract worth $859,167 annually and starts in the 2021-22 season.
Phillips has 6 points (2 G, 4 A)in 14 AHL games this season as a rookie. Phillips would be playing with the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL this season but they are the only one of the three CHL leagues not to begin playing their season. If the OHL were to begin play, Phillips — who is still just 19 years old — would have to report to Sudbury.
Phillips, a fifth-round pick (No. 141 overall) is the first player from the Blackhawks’ 2020 draft class to sign an NHL deal. He is developing defensively in the AHL with Rockford and could join the Blackhawks before the end of the contract.
Phillips’s signing follows the recent signings of Mike Hardman on Monday and Josiah Slavin on March 16. It also keeps the Blackhawks under 50 contracts for this season.
Also on Tuesday, Bowman was officially named Team USA’s General Manager for the 2022 Olympics:
Congrats to President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Stan Bowman on being named General Manager of the 2022 United States Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team! pic.twitter.com/wW4rBEBr6D— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) March 31, 2021
Bowman had previously served as assistant General Manager for Team North America in the World Cup in 2016. He’s also sat on the national team advisory board for World Championships in the past. Minnesota GM Bill Guerin was named assistant GM for the team.
So, congratulations to Patrick Kane for another appearance at the Olympics!
Seriously, though: if Kane, Alex DeBrincat and Connor Murphy are not on the US roster in some way — Murphy may be the seventh defenseman but he’s got better stats than some front runners for the US’s blue line (6.4 expected goals above replacement is 18th in the NHL among defensemen) — then what’s the point?
Finally, Ian Mitchell, currently on the taxi squad, spent some ice time alone after Blackhawks practice, making him last on the ice: