Chicago Acquires Calder Cup Champ Saarela in 4-Player Trade
ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Chicago Blackhawks announced they have acquired defenseman Calvin de Haan and forward Aleksi Saarela from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for goaltender Anton Forsberg and defenseman Gustav Forsling.
De Haan, 28, posted one goal and 13 assists in 74 regular-season games with the Hurricanes last season. He then helped Carolina to the Eastern Conference Finals, notching his first career postseason goal while skating in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
The Carp, Ontario native was originally selected by the New York Islanders in the first round (12th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft. He made his NHL debut in 2011-12 and set career highs in goals (5), assists (20), points (25) and games played (82) in 2016-17 with the Islanders. Overall, the blueliner combined for 95 points (13g, 82a) and 138 penalty minutes over 378 career NHL contests between New York (2011-12, 2013-18) and Carolina (2018-19).
Saarela, 22, helped lead the Charlotte Checkers to the 2019 Calder Cup Championship after registering a career-high 54 points (30g, 24a) in 69 games. The forward led the team and shared eighth among all AHL skaters in goals, and his nine game-winning tallies were the most in the AHL since the 2014-15 campaign. He also notched a career-best eight-game point streak with two goals and seven assists from Dec. 2 - 22.
Following the regular season, the Helsinki, Finland native chipped in 15 points (7g, 8a) over 17 postseason contests. He finished the playoffs with five multi-point efforts, including netting a hat trick in Charlotte's series-clinching win over Hershey in the Atlantic Division Finals on May 8.
Saarela was originally selected by the New York Rangers in the third round (89th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft. The forward has combined for 107 points (61g, 46a) in 147 career AHL games with the Checkers (2016-19) and skated in one NHL contest with the Hurricanes during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 20 at Washington.
Forsberg, 26, was part of the Rockford IceHogs' goaltending trio which combined to lead the AHL in save percentage during the 2018-19 season. The netminder posted a 15-15-2 record with a 2.64 GAA and .919 save percentage over 32 AHL outings and capped the campaign tied for the third-best save percentage in the league. He made 30+ saves in half of his 32 appearances, highlighted by a season-high 49 saves on Dec. 15 vs. Texas.
The Härnösand, Sweden native has gone 88-50-12 with a 2.31 GAA and .922 save percentage in 158 career AHL games and 11-24-4 with a 3.21 GAA and .901 save percentage in 45 career NHL contests.
Forsling, 23, spent the majority of the 2018-19 season with Chicago where he logged nine points (3g, 6a) in a career-high 43 games. He was assigned to Rockford on Oct. 22 and collected a pair of assists over five AHL contests, tallying his pair of helpers in his final appearance with the IceHogs on Nov. 10 at Chicago.
The Linköping, Sweden native has combined for 15 points (3g, 12a) in 53 career AHL games with Rockford over the last three seasons, and 27 points (8g, 19a) in 122 career NHL contests with Chicago.
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