The Chicago Blackhawks have inked Theo Peckham, Mike Kostka, and Drew Leblanc to two-way deals.
Leblanc, the 2012-13 Hobey Baker Award winner after a stellar season with the NCAA’s St. Cloud St., came to the Blackhawks on a one-year deal at the end of his NCAA season, but when the season came to a close, the ‘Hawks targeted him for re-signing. Stan Bowman, the Blackhawks general manager, had said on numerous occasions that the 24-year-old forward would be brought back, and the result is a two-year deal.
In all likelihood, Leblanc will get the opportunity to get some seasoning in the AHL before he makes the jump to the NHL, if he makes the jump at all. Next season, Leblanc is expected to start with the Rockford IceHogs, and while the terms of his two-way deal have not been disclosed, it is expected he will make somewhere in the $700,000 range in the NHL.
Last season, in 42 NCAA games, the St. Cloud St. captain tallied 13 goals and 37 assists, and suited up in two games with the Blackhawks. Leblanc also suited up in the World Championships for Team USA, registering three assists in six games.
Peckham, 25, is a big bodied defenceman that most will recognize from his playing days in Edmonton. At 6’2″, 216 lbs., Peckham is known for throwing his weight around and his proclivity for dropping the gloves.
Over a combined 307 games in the NHL and AHL, Peckham has registered 804 PIM, and contributed by putting up 56 points (16-40). While he only suited up in 12 games all last season — four in each the NHL, AHL, and ECHL — Peckham comes to the Blackhawks to likely play a swing role between the NHL and AHL.
Kostka, who spent last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, will also likely have a hard time cracking the Blackhawks roster, and could see himself playing a swing role between the big club and the Rockford IceHogs.
In 35 games in the AHL last season, the 27-year-old defenceman scored six goals to go along with 28 assists, putting him at an outstanding point-per-game pace from the backend. Up in the NHL, Kostka was a revelation to begin the season, but slowly tapered off, sometimes drawing the ire of Maple Leafs faithful.
In his 35 games in the NHL last year, Kostka posted eight assists. In his career, Kostka has played 365 AHL games, registering 44 goals and 150 assists.