The Chicago Blackhawks locked up one of their midseason acquisitions for a few more seasons on Friday morning, announcing a two-year contract extension for forward Sam Lafferty.
The deal runs through the end of the 2023-24 season and comes with a salary cap hit of $1,150,000. Lafferty was set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, which was being played on the final year of a two-year contract worth $750,000 annually that Lafferty signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 8, 2020.
Lafferty’s most noticeable trait has been his speed, and that’s the first thing GM Kyle Davidson referenced in a statement released by the team, announcing the move:
“Sam’s speed and up-tempo style is the brand of hockey we hope to see the team play over the coming years,” General Manager Kyle Davidson said. “He has showcased those skills since we acquired him. Sam adds a dynamic to our roster that allows him to fit seamlessly throughout the lineup and give our coaches a reliable forward that can be trusted in nearly every situation.”
Lafferty, 27, was originally drafted by the Penguins in the fourth round (113th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft. He made his NHL debut during the 2019-20 season and 94 games with Pittsburgh across three seasons, notching six goals with 15 assists. This season with Chicago, has five goals and six assists in four games while averaging 14:36 of ice time per game — well ahead of his career ATOI mark of 9:35 with Pittsburgh.
Lafferty joined the Blackhawks on Jan. 5, 2022, in a trade for Alex Nylander, whom the Blackhawks acqruied in 2019 in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres for former Chicago first-round pick Henri Jokiharju.
It’s a perfectly reasonable cap hit for a player who could very well be a reliable fourth-line contributor on the team for several seasons. But here’s hoping the Blackhawks are offering contract extensions to more than just fourth-line guys in the very near future.