The Blackhawks announced on Friday that they’ve signed 22-year old winger Brandon Hagel to a three-year contract with an annual salary cap hit of $1.5 million.
The Bagel is staying put— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) August 6, 2021
Brandon Hagel has signed an extension with Chicago! pic.twitter.com/vm76WnoXug
It’s not surprising the Blackhawks wanted to lock Hagel sooner rather than later considering he was the biggest surprise and a top rookie last season for the Blackhawks. His 24 points (9 G, 15 A) in 52 NHL games trailed only Pius Suter among Blackhawks rookies, but he did so with lower quality and less consistent linemates. Hagel also added an element of tenacity that made him a complimentary piece no matter where he was placed in the lineup and helped him grow as a player as the season progressed.
In a statement, President of Hockey Operations and General Manger Stan Bowman discussed Hagel’s growth in a statement after the signing:
“Brandon’s ascension to a regular role last season provided a huge boost to our team. We were quite pleased with the growth he showed in his game and ability to handle tougher assignments. His continued development at this level will allow him to be a valuable contributor to our offense moving forward.”
Hagel signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Blackhawks in 2018 after the Buffalo Sabres — the team that drafted Hagel in the sixth-round in 2016 — were unable to sign him. In his final season in the WHL, he had 102 points (41 G, 61 A) in 66 games during the 2018-19 with the Reed Deers before making his professional debut with the Rockford in 2019. He went on to be named the MVP of the IceHogs in 2019-20 with 31 points (19 G, 22 A) in 59 AHL games. Hagel also won gold as a member of team Canada at the 2021 IIHF Hockey World Championship this past summer.
After receiving his qualifying offer last month, it was only a matter of time before the Blackhawks extended fan-favorite Hagel and the contract is extremely reasonable for both the player and team. Alex Nylander is the Blackhawks’ only unsigned RFA left.