Koekkoek penned a one-year, $925,000 contract extension with Chicago on Monday, Eric Lear of the Blackhawks' official site reports. Koekkoek was acquired by the Hawks from the Lightning in January and has reupped with his new club for another season. By agreeing to an extension, the blueliner avoids potential arbitration as a restricted free agent this summer. The Ontario native struggled to break into the lineup with Tampa Bay, but found minutes much easier to come by in the Windy City, where he saw action in 22 games and averaged 16:27 of ice time. Fantasy owners probably shouldn't be banking on Koekkoek logging over 20 minutes per game, yet he could still provide decent mid-range fantasy value in deeper formats.
Koekkoek has been a healthy scratch for each of the Blackhawks' last three games. Chicago's currently riding a four-game winning streak, so Koekkoek may be relegated to the press box until the Blackhawks' current defensive lineup shows signs of a struggle. Once he's reinserted, the 25-year-old will likely replace Gustav Forsling or Carl Dahlstrom.
Koekkoek notched an assist while logging 14:50 of ice time during Thursday's 5-2 win over New Jersey. Thursday's assist represented Koekkoek's first point as a Blackhawk, and it was a beauty. The 24-year-old blueliner rushed into the offensive zone midway through the second period, receiving a drop pass from Patrick Kane before finding Jonathan Toews for what would ultimately be the game-winning goal. Koekkoek won't have any fantasy value in 2018-19, but he's proving to be a solid bottom-pairing option for Chicago.
Koekkoek is in the lineup Monday versus New Jersey, Mark Lazerus of The Athletic reports. Chicago will go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen with Koekkoek -- just acquired from the Lightning on Friday -- serving as the team's seventh option on the back end. Unless he's able to carve out an everyday spot with Chicago, Koekkoek remains irrelevant in fantasy.
Koekkoek, the newest Blackhawk, will not be in action against the Golden Knights on Saturday, though he did join the team for morning skate, Tracey Myers of NHL.com reports. As a reminder, the Lightning traded Koekkoek and a 2019 fifth-round draft pick to the Blackhawks for a different defenseman in Jan Rutta and a 2019 seventh-rounder Friday. Koekkoek hasn't lived up to the lofty billing of being the 10th overall pick from the 2012 draft, but he's a big blueliner with natural offensive instincts, and Chicago might be able to bring out the best in him. Keep an eye on Koekkoek in case that comes to fruition.
Last 7 Games
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