Riley Stillman agreed to a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. It has an average annual value of $1.35 million.
The defenseman could have been a restricted free agent after the season.
“I want to be here, I wanted to get this done to have an opportunity just to focus on playing and just helping the team,” Stillman said. “From what I’ve seen here the last two weeks, I love the city of Chicago, the organization all the way through is top notch and I’m really excited to be here. So, I wanted to get that done, get it behind me and just focus on the team.”
Stillman is without a point in 14 games this season for the Blackhawks and Florida Panthers, six for Chicago since he was traded with forwards Brett Connolly and Henrik Borgstrom and a seventh-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft by Florida for forward Lucas Wallmark and defenseman Lucas Carlsson on April 8.
“It’s been great,” Stillman said about being traded to the Blackhawks. “I mean, the coaching staff and my teammates are great, coming in and helping me out with the new system and stuff like that. It’s been awesome. I can’t think of a better way to describe it, being a fresh start and an opportunity to prove myself and prove what I can do to help this team move forward here. I can’t say enough good things about it.”
Selected in the fourth round (No. 114) of the 2016 draft, Stillman has five assists in 49 regular-season games and is without a point in three Stanley Cup Playoff games.
“Having a young, physical defenseman like Riley in the fold is exciting for the future of our team,” Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. “He is growing into an excellent all-around defenseman and that continued development is something we look forward to seeing firsthand. We love his size, and his toughness adds another piece to our defense.”
The Blackhawks (22-21-5) are sixth in the eight-team Discover Central Division, five points behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators. The top four teams will qualify for the playoffs.
Chicago is scheduled to host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.