Blackhawks to match Sharks’ offer for defenseman |

Blackhawks to match Sharks’ offer for defenseman

CHICAGO – The Chicago Blackhawks say they plan to keep 23-year-old restricted free agent defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.

General manager Stan Bowman said Monday that the Stanley Cup champions will match the four-year, $14 million offer sheet Hjalmarsson signed with the San Jose Sharks last week. Bowman says the team will complete the paperwork in the next couple of days.

Hjalmarsson earned $660,000 last season.

Bowman says the team plans to continue negotiating with restricted free agent goaltender Antti Niemi, who has filed for arbitration.

Since winning their first Stanley Cup in 49 years, the Blackhawks have traded seven players in order to remain on under the NHL’s $59.4 million cap next season.

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