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Blackhawks' Niklas Hjalmarsson Signs Offer Sheet With Sharks; Four Years, $14 Million


The San Jose Sharks will force the defending Stanley Cup champions to make another tough monetary decision.

The Sharks signed restricted free agent defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to a four-year, $14 million offer sheet on Friday. The Blackhawks will have seven days to match the offer.

Hjalmarsson, 23, was a valuable member of Chicago's first Cup winner since 1961. In his first full NHL season, he registered 2 goals, 17 points and a plus-9 rating in 77 regular-season games. He then added 1 goal, 8 points and a plus-9 rating in 22 postseason games.

The article says the Hawks will get San Jose's first and third round picks in the 2011 draft if they don't match the offer. It may come down to choosing between Hjalmarsson and Antti Niemi, who is also due for a large pay increase, to fit under the salary cap.