The Blackhawks bulked up on Thursday, signing two college players to two-year contracts.
First, theylanded one of the top college free agents on the market, agreeing to terms with Colgate junior Kyle Baun. Baun, the grandson of Toronto Maple Leafs legend Bobby Baun, is a 6-2, 204-pound forward. The 22-year-old posted 39 goals and 40 assists in 113 games at Colgate over the past three seasons.
Baun will report to the Hawks this season and burn the first year of his contract, as college signings such as Drew LeBlanc and Matt Carey have in recent years. He will not be eligible to play in the postseason, however. The Red Wings, Flames, Jets and Oilers were reportedly trying to sign Baun, as well.
The Hawks also signed their own third-round pick in the 2011 draft, defenseman Michael Paliotta. Paliotta finished his career at Vermont this month, and there was concern that he could go the Kevin Hayes route by waiting until Aug. 15, then signing with another team. Hayes spurned the Hawks for the New York Rangers last summer, and has 14 goals and 22 assists as a rookie. Paliotta, a 6-3, 207-pounder, is a physical player in the Stephen Johns mode (and yet another right-handed shot in an organization full of them). He added some offense to his game as a senior, with five goals and 22 assists (sixth most in the NCAA among defensemen), and was named Hockey East’s top defensive defenseman.
Paliotta also is expected to report to Chicago.