Blackhawks sign Hossa to multi-year contract Staff

7/1/2009 2:31:35 PM

After signing big-money free agents like Nikolai Khabibulin, Brian Campbell and Cristobal Huet over the last few summers, the Chicago Blackhawks have kept the momentum going by signing star winger Marian Hossa to a 12-year contract averaging $5.2 million a season.

The contract is front-loaded with about $59.3 million paid out over the first eight years, and $3.5 million total for the final four years.

"To add Marian, an elite and world-class player, and Tomas, a Stanley Cup Champion, to our exciting young core reinforces our commitment to try to win the Stanley Cup," Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon said in a statement.

Hossa's story has been well documented over the past year, leaving Pittsburgh after their Cup loss to Detroit in 2008, only to join the very team that defeated them. Then he was forced to watch from the sidelines again, this time as a member of the Red Wings, while the Penguins hoisted the Cup this past season.

After scoring a team-leading 40 goals in the regular season, Hossa's production dropped off significantly during the Red Wings' 2009 playoff run. The 11-year veteran scored just six goals in 23 games, despite matching his season average of over 18 minutes of ice time per game.

Prior to playing in Detroit and Pittsburgh, the 29-year-old was acquired by Atlanta as part of the Dany Heatley trade in 2005.

Originally a first-round draft pick by the Ottawa Senators in 1997, Hossa has been named to five NHL all-star teams and has recorded 339 goals and 719 points in 775 career games.

The Blackhawks weren't done signing former Red Wings from there, inking Tomas Kopecky to a two-year deal woth $1.2 million a season.

Kopecky, 27, also spent the 2008-09 season in Detroit, his fourth with the club. He finished second on the team with 109 hits while posting career highs with six goals, 13 assists and 19 points in 79 regular season games. The Ilava, Slovakia native also dished out one assist in eight Stanley Cup games with Detroit last season. He has appeared in 183 regular season games with the Red Wings over the last four seasons notching 32 points (12G, 20A) and 113 penalty minutes. Kopecky was originally drafted by Detroit with their second choice (38th overall) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft and helped the team capture the Stanley Cup in 2008.