Wilmette’s Tommy Wingels eager to give hometown Hawks a depth charge

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Ottawa’s Tommy Wingels sends Blackhawks center Tanner Kero into the boards during a game on March 16. (AP Photo)

Tommy Wingels was living in the Gold Coast during the spring of 2010. He just had finished his junior season at Miami of Ohio and was about to embark on his pro career with the Sharks, who just had been swept in the Western Conference final by the Blackhawks.

And even though he was a member of the Sharks’ organization, he couldn’t help but be a little bit excited when Patrick Kane scored the Stanley Cup winner in Game 6 against the Flyers.

‘‘I remember the night they won, I was just sitting in my bedroom,’’ Wingels said Saturday. ‘‘We had a little balcony, and you could just hear the city erupt. People in the street, people celebrating. I’ll never forget that moment. It’s such a contagious thing, and it’s a huge, huge reason why I signed there.’’

Wingels — born in Evanston, raised in Wilmette and a graduate of New Trier — signed a one-year contract with the Hawks, hoping to become their next hometown hero.

‘‘Growing up in Chicago, seeing the transformation of the team and seeing the Blackhawks hoisting the Cup over the last few years, it makes you enjoy and want to play for the Blackhawks even more,’’ he said. ‘‘Playing against them as an opponent over the years is kind of difficult when you grow up such a big fan of the team.’’

Wingels, 29, is a physical bottom-six winger (he also has played some center) who scored a combined 31 goals in 2013-14 and 2014-15. But he scored only seven goals in each of the last two seasons and had only two goals and two assists in 36 games with the Senators after being dealt at the trade deadline.

General manager Stan Bowman is counting on Wingels to give the Hawks some bite in a crowded bottom six.

‘‘The roster’s a bit in flux, but people seem to forget that this was the No. 1 team in the West last year,’’ Wingels said. ‘‘It’s still an unbelievable team. . . . It’s about role players and guys further down the lineup stepping up. And I think I can be one of those guys who really helps out, whether it’s as a penalty-killer, an energy guy or a checker. I think I can contribute in a few ways.’’

The Hawks also signed forward Lance Bouma, who scored 16 goals in 2014-15 but only five combined in the last two seasons. He was just bought out by the Flames.

The Hawks also made two more depth additions, signing goalie Jean-Francois Berube and defenseman Jordan Oesterle to two-year deals.

Follow me on Twitter @MarkLazerus.

Email: mlazerus@suntimes.com


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