Blackhawks agree to terms with four prospects

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Blackhawks agree to terms with four prospects

The Blackhawks agreed to terms on three-year contracts with four more players on Tuesday: forward Joakin Nordstrom, defenseman Klas Dahlbeck and goaltenders Mac Carruth and Kent Simpson.

Nordstrom, who played with the AIK of the Swedish Elite League this season, had three goals and three assists with the team. He was also part of Sweden's gold-medal team at the 2012 World Junior Championships, where he tallied four goals. He was the Blackhawks' third-round selection (90th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Dahlbeck had four points and a plus-3 rating in 55 games with Linkoping HC of the Swedish Elite League.

Carruth recorded a career-high 42 victories (and a 2.96 goals-against average) in 63 appearances with the Portland Winterhawks, who won their second consecutive WHL Western Conference title. Simpson made his pro debut with the Rockford IceHogs on April 14, stopping 38 of 41 shots in a shootout loss to Charlotte. He spent most of the season with the Everett Silvertips (WHL), posting a 20-31-7 record and a .909 save percentage.

Banged-up Bears add running back Joique Bell

Banged-up Bears add running back Joique Bell

With Jeremy Langford and Ka'Deem on the shelf with injury, the Bears have reportedly signed running back Joique Bell.

Bell spent four seasons with the Lions, tallying 2,235 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns from 2012 to 2015. He also added 161 receptions for 1,640 yards and another score.

Bell was released in February as the Lions opted to get younger at the position.

The 220-pound Bell will provide depth for the Bears at yet another position where they've been ravaged by injury. Ka'Deem Carey missed Week 3 with a hamstring injury suffered the previous week, and Langford will reportedly miss four-to-six weeks with an ankle injury suffered Monday night.

That leaves rookie Jordan Howard, who has shown promise in his first three games, and Raheem Mostert on the depth chart.

The Bears host the Lions on Sunday.

Stan Bowman mum on Artemi Panarin contract talks

Stan Bowman mum on Artemi Panarin contract talks

In July, when asked how contract talks were going with star forward Artemi Panarin, general manager Stan Bowman said he wouldn’t negotiate through the media.

He reiterated that on Tuesday.

“Obviously Artemi's a big part of our team. We're excited for the season he had. We're looking forward to him building on that as well. Then the negotiations will be what they are between his agent and myself,” I respect Tom [Lynn, Panarin’s agent]. He's a very knowledgeable guy, and Artemi put a lot of faith in him. And Tom and I will work to get something done.”

Panarin is entering the final year of his current contract and is coming off a monster rookie season in which he recorded 77 points and took home the Calder Trophy. Panarin took home plenty of bonus money thanks to that season, too.

The 24-year-old could certainly command a hefty price, which would once again be a major concern to the cash-strapped Blackhawks. The salary cap is at $73 million for this season, a small increase from 2015-16 ($71.4 million). Factor in another likely small increase next season and the large contracts the Blackhawks are already doling out – Brent Seabrook’s eight-year deal with a cap hit of $6.875 kicks in this season – and could Panarin be another one that gets away?

But Bowman remains optimistic.

“We're always confident,” he said. “You go into a negotiation expecting to get a deal done. That's the way I've been in the past and that's the way I am now.”