The Blackhawks have agreed to terms with forward Cole Guttman on a two-year entry-level contract, the team announced Thursday morning. His cap hit is $950,000.
Guttman, 23, recently completed his senior season at the University of Denver, where he set a career-high in goals (19), assists (26) and points (45) during the 2021-22 campaign and captained his team to a national championship. He finished his four-year collegiate career with 121 points (55 goals, 66 assists) in 140 games.
"Cole’s game has progressed during his time with the University of Denver and we’re looking forward to continuing that development within our organization," GM Kyle Davidson said in a statement. "Captaining his team to a championship last season demonstrates his leadership and commitment on the ice, and those are qualities we’re always looking for in our players."
Guttman is a 5-foot-11, 175-pound center who was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the sixth round (No. 180 overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft. His draft rights expired on Monday, which made him an unrestricted free agent.
Guttman will likely start the 2022-23 season with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League, but he probably saw the Blackhawks as an appealing destination because there will be plenty of opportunities for some younger players to step into the NHL in the near future as the Original Six franchise embarks on a full-scale rebuild.