Saad inks deal with Hawks, will start Friday

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Saad inks deal with Hawks, will start Friday

The Chicago Blackhawks signed Brandon Saad to an entry-level deal, general manager Stan Bowman told the media on Tuesday, and the rookie will play in the Blackhawks' season opener in Dallas on Friday.

Saad's great training camp has translated into the deal and the opportunity to start with the big club. He'll also be starting on the top line, as he practiced with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp on Tuesday morning.

"He's earned a spot," said Bowman, who noted Saad has had the Blackhawks' attention since rookie camp. "The competition has gone up each time and he's responded to the challenge. You have to credit him for his hard work and determination. He's excited to go and that's a good story for us. We put him in a position to succeed and he seized it."

For Saad, the dream of making an NHL roster is realized early. The 18-year-old said he'll try not to be overwhelmed by that first regular-season game.

"I've been through the preseason so I'll try to take it like every game. Starting the real season, it's going to be tough but exciting," he said. "I've always wanted to work to make the NHL but didn't expect to make the team (this soon). But it's nice to have."

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Michal Kempny was in and out of the Blackhawks lineup last season but he’ll likely get a bigger opportunity this coming season. On Saturday, he was assured of coming back to get that chance.

Kempny and the Blackhawks agreed to a one-year extension, the team announced on Saturday morning.

“Michal’s style of play is an asset to our defense,” general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. “He is the type of player who will continue to improve now that he has transitioned to the National Hockey League. We look forward to his continued development on the ice for the Blackhawks.”

Kempny was part of a very crowded blue line last season — he was one of eight defensemen at the start of it — and played 50 regular-season games. He recorded two goals and six assists in those contests but did not play in the Blackhawks’ four postseason contests. With Johnny Oduya and Brian Campbell likely not returning, however, Kempny should get a bigger opportunity this season.

The 26-year-old Kempny also had two goals and an assist in eight games for the Czech Republic team at the 2017 World Championship.

Blackhawks announce plans for NHL Draft Fan Fest

Blackhawks announce plans for NHL Draft Fan Fest

With exactly a month to go until Chicago hosts the 2017 NHL Draft for the first time ever, the Blackhawks and league announced Wednesday their plans for Fan Fest held outside the United Center on June 23 and 24.

A handful of Blackhawks players and alumni will be in attendance and made available for photo opportunities, as will the Stanley Cup. Fans will also be able to explore the NHL Centennial Fan Arena, "a 53-foot museum truck with an innovative interior featuring more than 1,000 square feet of interactive digital displays, original video content, one-of-a-kind historical memorabilia, unique photo moments and a social media wall," according to the press release.

A full list of activities, special guest appearances and schedule will be posted at a later date.

Friday's events will run from 3 to 9 p.m. while Saturday's festivites will go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Parking Lot C, north of the United Center.

Additional passes for the weekend will be made available to the public starting June 9. For more information, visit chicagoblackhawks.com/fanfest.