CHICAGO, IL—Since the 2017 free agency season commenced on Saturday, July 1, the Chicago Blackhawks have closed deals with Patrick Sharp, Tommy Wingels, Jean-Francois Beurbe, Jordan Oesterle, and Lance Bouma. Additionally, the Blackhawks have traded Marcus Kruger to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for future considerations from the newly-developed NHL team.
Sharp, a 35 year-old left winger, hails from Winnipeg, Manitoba, stands at 6 feet tall, and weighs 200 pounds. He agreed to a one-year contract with Chicago on Saturday, which is reportedly worth $1 million. Sharp was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers as the 95th overall pick (third round) of the 2001 NHL Draft. He made his NHL debut with the Flyers in 2002.
In 10 seasons with Chicago (2005-2015), Sharp appeared in 679 games. He collected 511 points (239 goals and 272 assists) and 397 penalty minutes. He helped lead the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup wins in 2010 (in 22 playoff games, he collected 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points), 2013, and 2015.
Last season with the Dallas Stars, to whom he was traded on July 10, 2015, Sharp attained 18 points (eight goals and 10 assists) in 48 games. Due to a concussion, he sat out for 14 games from October 20, 2016 to November 19, 2016. He played a total of seven games up until December 3, 2016, when the Stars placed him on injured reserve for concussion-related symptoms. In March 2017, he underwent surgery for a hip injury.
In 2015-2016, Sharp scored 20 goals with the Stars which marked the eighth time in his NHL career that he scored a minimum of 20 goals in a single season. Sharp has tallied 599 points (277 goals, 322 assists) in 869 regular-season NHL games and 87 points (47 goals and 40 assists) in 142 career playoff games.
Wingels, 29, grew up in Wilmette, Illinois, 20 miles away from Chicago. The center is 6 feet tall and weighs 200 pounds. He was selected by the San Jose Sharks in the 2008 NHL Draft as the 177th overall pick (sixth round).
Before the NHL, he played for Team Illinois in the Midwest Elite AAA Hockey League. He spent one season (2006-2007) with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL and three (2007-2010) with his alma mater, Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. While earning a degree in accounting, he did not miss a game with the RedHawks in all three seasons (a total of 127), collecting a total of 99 points (43 goals and 56 assists). As a junior, he was appointed the team captain and labeled the Best Defensive Forward in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA).
Last season, Wingels played for both the Sharks (with whom he spent seven seasons beginning in 2010) and the Ottawa Senators. Between the two teams, he appeared in 73 games and tallied 12 points (seven goals and five assists). The Senators advanced to the 2017 playoffs, during which Wingels played in nine games.
In 2013-2014 with San Jose, Wingels hit career peaks in points with 38, assists with 22, and goals with 16. During the offseason that year, he appeared in seven games during the World Championships, showcasing Team USA. For four consecutive seasons, he exceeded San Jose in hits (he collected a career-peaking 263 in 2014-2015).
Wingels has spent seven seasons in the NHL. He has appeared in 373 regular-season games and currently holds 126 points (53 goals and 73 assists). A five-time postseason admit, he has attained eight points (two goals and six assists) in 54 games.
Beurbe, 25, is from Repentigny, Quebec. The 6 foot and 1 inch tall, 177-pound goaltender was first drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round (95th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft. He agreed to a two-year deal with Chicago.
Having previously played for the Montréal Junior Hockey Club (QMJHL), Manchester Monarchs (AHL), Montréal Juniors (QMJHL), and Ontario Reign (ECHL), Beurbe made his NHL debut with the New York Islanders in 2015-2016 while also spending time with their AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
In 14 games with the Islanders last season, Beurbe cultivated a 3-2-2 record with a 3.42 goals against average (GAA) and a .889 save percentage. He has spent his entire NHL career to date with the Islanders, having played in 21 games. He currently holds a 6-4-3 record, a 3.11 GAA, and a .900 save percentage.
Beurbe exceeded the AHL in wins (37) during the 2014-15 season with the Monarchs. That year, he concluded the regular season with a 37-9-6 record. With a 2.18 GAA, he ranked eighth in the league. In the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs, he went 13-3 before helping lead the Monarchs to a championship win.
Oesterle, 25, who stands at 6 feet and is a 182 pound defenseman, closed a two-year deal with the Blackhawks. Before playing collegiate hockey at Western Michigan University, Oesterle spent one season with the Sioux Fall Stampede (USHL). He appeared in 54 games, collected 15 points (two goals and 13 assists), and 16 penalty minutes.
The Dearborn Heights, Michigan native spent three seasons (2011-2014) with the Western Michigan Broncos. He earned a total of 34 points (seven goals and 27 assists) and, as a freshman, helped lead his team to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Tournament Championship in addition to a NCAA Tournament bid.
Oesterle would then go on to play for the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL in 2013-2014, which was also his third collegiate level season. The following season, the free agent (who was never drafted) signed a two-year entry contract with the Edmonton Oilers, for whom he played in conjunction with the Barons. In two of three seasons with the Oilers, Oesterle also spent time with the Bakersfield Condors (AHL). He made his first NHL appearance on February 21, 2015 against the Anaheim Ducks.
Last season, Oesterle exceeded all Condors defensemen with 32 points (seven goals and 25 assists) and played in two games with Edmonton. He also nailed five multi-point games, including the March 25 match against the San Diego Gulls. He hit a career-peaking, three point outing comprised of three assists. In 2015-2016, he posted five assists in 17 games with the Oilers. In 25 NHL career games, Oesterle has collected six assists which comprise his six points.
Bouma, a Provost, Alberta-born center agreed to a one-year deal with the Blackhawks. He was selected by the Calgary Flames as the 78th overall pick (third round) of the 2008 NHL Draft.
Standing at 6 feet and 2 inches tall and weighing 208 pounds, Bouma commenced his career with the Vancouver Giants of the WHL, with whom he spent five seasons (2005-2010). He served as team captain in 2009-2010, his last season with the Giants.
In 61 games, Bouma collected seven points (three goals and four assists) last season with the Flames, for whom he has played six seasons (2010-2012, 2013-2017). To date, he has appeared in 304 NHL games and totaled 67 points (27 goals and 40 assists) and 174 penalty minutes. On March 25, 2017, he made his 300th NHL appearance against the Los Angeles Kings.
Bouma tallied 27 points (16 goals and 11 assists) in 95 games with the Abbotsford Heat, with whom he spent four seasons (2009-2013). In addition to deal closures, the Blackhawks traded Stockholm, Sweden-born center Marcus Kruger, 27, to the Golden Knights and will in turn receive future considerations.
Kruger was drafted by Chicago in the fifth round (149th overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft. He commenced his professional career with the team in 2010. During the 2012-2013 season, he also played for the Blackhawks’ top affiliate team, the Rockford Icehogs.
Last season with the Blackhawks, the 6 foot, 186 pound forward appeared in 70 games. He tallied 17 points (five goals and 12 assists) and added another assist in four playoff games. The 2013-2014 season was Kruger’s career peak for points; he concluded the season with eight goals and 20 assists for a total of 28 points.
Kruger has made 398 NHL regular-season appearances to date. He currently holds 105 points (33 goals and 72 assists). In 87 playoff games, he attained 16 points (six goals and 10 assists). In two of seven seasons with Chicago, Kruger won the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2015.
“We thank Marcus for his many contributions to our team, most notably two Stanley Cup championships. His work ethic, reliability and strength as a two-way player made him a valuable member of the organization. We wish him the best with Vegas,” said Stan Bowman, General Manager for the Blackhawks.