Remember a couple years ago when many fans in Chicago took issue with Niklas Hjalmarsson’s seemingly-limited offensive capabilities?
Through 17 games, Hjalmarsson is producing at a pace that will blow away his previous career highs.
The best offensive season of Hjalmarsson’s young career was the 2009-10 season, when he posted 17 points (two goals, 15 assists) in 77 regular season games. Over the two seasons that followed the Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory – and Hjalmarsson’s subsequent offer sheet with San Jose – the Hawks received only 25 points from him in 149 games.
Coming into this season, Hjalmarsson had only posted 56 points in 306 career regular season games.
This season, however, a more confident Hjalmarsson has become a more consistent offensive threat. The 26-year-old has continued to play his stellar defense, but he’s become an added weapon on the blue line for coach Joel Quenneville.
Through 17 games, Hjalmarsson already has nine points (two goals, seven assists); he had only ten points (two goals, eight assists) in 46 games during last year’s lockout-shortened regular season. He’s producing at a 40-point pace, which has to surprise even his most loyal fans.