Blackhawks lock up Brandon Bollig with contract extension

Blackhawks lock up Brandon Bollig with contract extension
March 3, 2014, 9:15 am
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Brandon Bollig has gone from solely a fighter/enforcer to a forward who’s adding more to his game. On Monday, the Chicago Blackhawks secured Bollig for a few more seasons.

Bollig and the Blackhawks agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension that will take him through the 2016-17 season. Bollig has become a consistent part of the Blackhawks’ fourth line with Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith.

Not bad for a guy who went undrafted.

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“If you’d asked me two years ago I ever would’ve expected anything like this. Even last summer, I wouldn’t have. In my wildest dreams growing up I’d never guess this was where I’d end up,” Bollig said following Monday’s practice. “I don’t want to stop there. I want to play the three years (of this deal), hopefully expand and sign a couple more here.”

The 27-year-old Bollig first signed with the Blackhawks as a free agent in April of 2010. At that point, Bollig was known as a physical and fighting forward. He’s worked to develop his game in recent years and has a career-high 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 62 games this season with the Blackhawks.

The team’s staff and coaches have appreciated Bollig’s evolution these past few seasons.

“He’s really progressed,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “He gave us a nice ingredient, adding toughness off the bat. As a hockey player, that’s the part that may have surprised a lot of us: the consistency of his game, what he’s able to do with the puck and play selection. That line’s helped over the last year and a half. We utilize him in an important role. We’re comfortable with him defensively and he adds a nice dimension to our lineup.”

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Teammates were happy for Bollig.

“It’s good to see him working hard,” Bryan Bickell said. “He started from the minors to here, kind of the same way I did. That hard work has paid off for three more years.”

Bollig isn’t here to be a scoring forward or a Selke Trophy candidate. He’s here to fill a depth role and keep growing from just a fighting presence. He’s done that, and on Monday he was rewarded for it.

“The role we have (on the fourth line) is great,” Bollig said. “It’s not just banging bodies, it’s getting valuable minutes in our own defensive zone. That’s huge for us and it’s going to help all three of us if we continue to play like that. Hopefully we can stick together a few more years here and make it our niche as far as playing against other teams’ top lines and play valuable minutes.”