There was actual hockey news on Thursday afternoon, as the Chicago Blackhawks announced four contract agreements. The team reached contract extensions with Matthew Highmore and Kevin Lankinen and signed 2017 draft picks Evan Barratt and Andrei Altybarmakyan to entry-level deals.
Both Highmore and Lankinen signed two-year contract extensions, with year one (2020–21) being two-way deals and year two (2021–22) transitioning into one-way deals. Highmore’s deal comes with a $725,000 AAV ($700,000 NHL/$450,000 AHL in year one, $750,000 in year two), while Lankinen’s deal holds an $800,000 AAV ($750,000 NHL/$500,000 AHL in year one, $850,000 in year two).
This season, Highmore played in 21 AHL games with the Rockford IceHogs, tallying 12 points, as well as playing in 36 NHL games with the Blackhawks and notching six points. He has 49 career NHL games with the Blackhawks and was named an AHL All-Star in 2017–18 with the IceHogs.
Lankinen made 21 appearances with the IceHogs this season, holding a record of 8–10–2 with a 3.03 goals against average and a .909 save percentage. He was also recalled to the Blackhawks this season, but has yet to make his NHL debut. Lankinen has played in 40 career AHL games with the IceHogs, was named an AHL All-Star this season and helped Team Finland win the 2019 World Championship gold medal last summer.
The Blackhawks signed entry-level deals with two of their 2017 NHL Entry Draft picks, giving Penn State standout Evan Barratt a three-year deal and Russian prospect Andrei Altybarmakyan a two-year deal. Barratt’s contract holds an $870,000 AAV, while Altybarmakyan’s deal is worth $817,500 annually.
Barratt was the 90th overall selection in 2017 by Chicago and has spent the last three years playing at Penn State. In 98 career NCAA games, Barratt scored 39 goals and totaled 95 points. He was part of Team USA’s U18 World Junior Championship gold medal team in 2017, took home a silver medal with Team USA at the 2019 World Junior Championships and was named to the First Team All-Big 10 list as a sophomore in the 2018–19 season.
Altybarmakyan was selected 70th overall by the Blackhawks in 2017 and has played in Russia his whole career. He has spent the majority of the last two seasons with HK Sochi in the KHL. He tallied six goals and 17 points this year with HK Sochi and has 23 points in 101 career KHL games.
Both Barratt’s and Altybarmakyan’s deals begin next season.