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Former Blackhawks Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson is Retiring

Niklas Hjalmarsson is retiring from the NHL after 14 years.

Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Earlier today, Craig Morgan officially announced that former Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson is retiring after 14 years in the NHL.

Niklas Hjalmarsson A.K.A. The Hammer

Niklas Hjalmarsson spent the first ten years of his career in Chicago. He played an absolutely crucial role in their three Stanley Cup Championships. The defenseman was a ridiculous shot-blocker and blocked over 1,600 shots in his career. In the 2016-17 NHL season, Hjalmarsson played in 73 games for the Blackhawks and notched a career second-best 181 blocked shots.

Niklas Hjalmarsson
Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

What’s most impressive is during his second season with the Arizona Coyotes (2018-19) he played in all 82 games and recorded 187 blocked shots. So in nine more games than in 2016-17, he barely beat his previous record by only six more shots. Niklas Hjalmarsson in 2016-17 was the definition of a workhorse.

NHL Standard career statistics
ScorScorScor Goal AssiAssi ShotShotShot Ice Ice
Season Age Tm GP G A PTS +/- PIM EV EV SH S S% TSA TOI ATOI BLK HIT
2009-1022CHI77215179202141623.2170151419:4013759
2012-1325CHI4628101522280434.79996220:549426
2014-1527CHI823161925443160973.1237179521:5312739
10 yrsCHI6232312014310923822108105873.913831273820:271186329
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/25/2021.

Hjalmarsson averaged 1.9 blocked shots per game in his ten seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks. During their three Stanley Cup Championships, his average blocked shots were 1.8 in 2010, 2.0 in 2013, and 1.5 in 2015. The man just didn’t stop putting his body in harm’s way to help out Antti Niemi and Corey Crawford. His offensive prowess wasn’t a main focus of his abilities, but welcome nonetheless. Over 623 games with the Blackhawks, he scored 23 goals and recorded 120 assists.

Niklas Hjalmarsson is retiring from the NHL and forwards everywhere can breath a sigh of relief. He is undoubtedly one of the best defensemen to ever play in the NHL and his numbers are impressive to back it up. When rotating with players like Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Brent Sopel, and Brian Campbell, Hjalmarsson was one of the biggest problems for opposing offenses. If they actually managed to get a clean shot from the blue line, it was statistically unlikely that it would ever get past the Blackhawks defensemen. Antti Niemi and Corey Crawford should be forever grateful for defenders like Niklas Hjalmarsson. Laying out his body to protect the most padded man on the ice is quite literally cool and tough.

Husband and father, Chicago (mostly) sports fan, total gym rat and geek enthusiast. I write for OnTapSportsNet and talk fantasy football on the Fantasy Hour On Tap. Gaming, movies, TV shows, books, and bodybuilding/strongman are some of my other passions. A good-tasting white ale goes well with any sporting event. #Crackum

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Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

I looooove Duncan Keith and seabrook but my favorite all time Hawks D man is The Hammer, I have seen a player clock as many shots to acrobatically and selflessly. He is perhaps the most underrated defenseman in the last decade,

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