On Saturday, the Chicago Blackhawks signed 26-year-old forward Hugh Jessiman to a one-year, two-way contract with a $500k cap number.
Which is an interesting addition for the Hawks on many levels.
Jessiman was the 12th overall selection in a very good 2003 NHL Draft by the New York Rangers (the Hawks selected Brent Seabrook 14th overall that year). He has been described as a skilled big man who needs to use his size better; Jessiman is listed at 6’6 and 231 pounds. Last year with Milwaukee of the AHL, Jessiman had 42 points (20 G, 22 A) and 111 penalty minutes in 78 regular season games.
To say Jessiman was a disappointment for Rangers fans might be the biggest understatement of the decade. The picks that followed him in the 2003 first round included Dustin Brown to LA, Seabrook, Zach Parise to New Jersey, Ryan Getzlaf to Anaheim, Ryan Kesler to Vancouver, Mike Richards to Philadelphia and Corey Perry to Anaheim as well. The Rangers also missed on notable second round selections Patrice Bergeron to Boston, Matt Carle to San Jose and Shea Weber to Nashville.
However, by placing Jessiman into that context shows how much was thought of his skills seven years ago. Since then, Jessiman has bounced from Dartmouth College to Hartford of the AHL and Charlotte of the ECHL before playing the last two years for Milwaukee.
Considering his size, cap number, and flexible contract, Jessiman could push for a spot at the bottom of the Blackhawks roster with a good training camp.