Chicago Sun-Times

Skille, Hawks agree to one-year deal

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Skille.jpgJack Skille has been mentioned multiple times by Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman as having a chance to play a bigger role in 2010-11.

Skille, a restricted free agent, just needed to be signed. Now, that appears to be done. The Hawks and Skille's camp have agreed upon a one-year deal, a source said.

Update: The deal is worth $600,000. That's a big difference than his cap hit of more than $1 million the past few years. That inflated cap hit was a reason why Skille didn't see much time with the Hawks.

Skille was drafted by the Hawks with the seventh overall pick in the 2005 draft. Skille played at Wisconsin before joining the Rockford IceHogs, the Hawks' American Hockey League affiliate. He had 23 goals and 49 points for Rockford in 2009-10.

Skille's biggest asset is his speed. The 6-1, 215-pound winger also isn't afraid to be physical. Skille could prove to be valuable in a checking role for the Hawks, possibly making up for the losses of Kris Versteeg and Andrew Ladd on Dave Bolland's line. Versteeg and Ladd were traded this summer.

A Madison, Wis. native, Skille has played in 30 games with the Hawks, recording five goals and eight points. He appeared in a career-high 16 games in the 2007-08 season and scored three goals. He played in only six games in 2009-10.

The Hawks are also close to signing winger Bryan Bickell, another RFA. Like Skille, Bowman has said Bickell will have a chance at an expanded role this coming season. A source said Bickell will possibly get a multi-year deal.

Bickell, a physical 6-4, 223-pounder, was recalled from the IceHogs the most by the Hawks in 2009-10. He had three goals, four points and a plus-4 rating in 16 games in the regular season, seeing time on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. He also played in four games in the playoffs, finishing with an assist and a plus-3 rating.

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After Bickell is taken care of, I assume Hendry will be next?

Skille is gonna be a very good 4th line guy. He also has the skills to move up when he gets more playing time. He is a high energy guy that can score. Bickell also has alot of untapped talent. The pipe line is full of talent.. like it.

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Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan hailing from the Far Northwest Side. Jahns has been with the Sun-Times for more than four years, covering the Hawks, Bears, Cubs, Sox and high schools.


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