As the Chicagoland area was waking up on Sunday morning, the Blackhawks were active constructing their team for the future. The Blackhawks announced they have signed defenseman Riley Stillman to a three-year contract extension.
According to the official press release, Stillman's deal runs through the 2023-24 season with a $1.35 million cap hit. Stillman's new deal gives him the longest running deal of any defenseman on the active roster.
"He's growing into an excellent all-around defenseman, and that continued development is something we look forward to seeing firsthand," said Stan Bowman. "We love his size, and his toughness adds another piece to our defense."
Stillman was a fourth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers. The 23-year-old defenseman won the 2018 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) championship with the Hamilton Bulldogs. Current Blackhawks prospect MacKenzie Entwistle was teammates with Stillman during that championship run.
In 34 games last season with Florida, Stillman recorded five assists, his only NHL points in his career thus far. In six games with the Blackhawks, Stillman has been credited with 16 hits and eight blocked shots in 16:43 of average ice time over those six games.
The Stillman extension raises questions regarding who will and will not be a part of this defensive group moving forward. The futures of players such as Calvin de Haan and Nikita Zadorov are now up in the air. Between the log jam of defense, and the looming Seattle expansion draft, this Blackhawks blue line could look very different in 2021-22.
However, having a player who is very strong defensively locked up for three years is a huge win for the Blackhawks' front office. Stillman can become a very important piece on the Blackhawks' blue line for seasons to come.
Stillman is also the son of former NHLer and two-time Stanley Cup champion, Cory Stillman. The elder Stillman played 1,025 NHL games from 1994 to 2011.