06/08/2009 9:30 AM
The Chicago Blackhawks have signed left wing Rob Klinkhammer, defensemen Jonathan Carlsson and Brian Connelly and goaltender Alec Richards to entry-level contracts.
Klinkhammer,23, tied for fifth on the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs with a professional career high 15 goals and ranked seventh with a professional career-best 33 points in 76 regular-season games last season. The Lethbridge, Alberta, native shared third on Rockford with a +14 plus/minus rating during the regular season before dishing out one assist in four Calder Cup Playoff tilts. Klinkhammer has appeared in 142 AHL games over the last two seasons with the Norfolk Admirals (2007-08) and IceHogs, racking up 57 points (27G, 30A) and 73 penalty minutes.
Connelly, 22, made his professional debut with Rockford last season, recording three points (G, 2A) and six penalty minutes in nine regular-season games and two penalty minutes in three postseason games after being signed to an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO) on March 23. Prior to joining the IceHogs, the Bloomington, Minnesota, native finished his third season with Colorado College (WCHA), leading team defensemen with 24 assists and 27 points in 38 contests. Connelly registered 66 points (9G, 57A) and 106 penalty minutes in 123 career games with Colorado College spanning four seasons (2006-09).
Richards, 21, capped a four-year career at Yale University this past spring, notching a 19-5-1 record with a 2.06 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage, leading the club to the ECAC title. The Robbinsdale, Minnesota, native finished his career (2005-09) at Yale as the school’s all-time leader in save percentage (.923) and shutouts (six), while ranking second in wins (39) and goals-against average (2.68).
Carlsson, 20, has spent each of the last three seasons in the Swedish Elite League, which includes posting one assist and 58 penalty minutes in 55 games with Brynas IF Gavle. The Uppsala, Sweden, native was the Blackhawks’ fourth choice, 162nd overall, in the 2008 National Hockey League Entry Draft.