It appears Norwegian prospect Mathis Olimb‘s stay in the Chicago Blackhawks’ organization will be a short one.
On Friday, Olimb signed a two-year contract with the Frolunda Indians of the Swedish Elite League (Elitserien). Olimb was scheduled to become a restricted free agent on July 1, having completed the one-year agreement he signed with the Blackhawks back on June 17, 2010.
Olimb returns to Frolunda after having spent the 2009-10 season with the Indians. In 55 games with Frolunda in ’09-10, Olimb collected 9 goals and 34 points and another goal and four points in seven postseason contests. Collectively, Olimb was a +1 performer in those 62 games.
After nearly two months on the sidelines in recovering from off season shoulder surgery, Mathis Olimb amassed 10 goals and 22 assists in 59 games as a Rockford IceHog. Olimb was also a plus-8 and finished with a respectable, yet unspectacular 9.62% shooting percentage.
At five-foot ten and 175 pounds, Olimb figured as a long-shot to be re-signed by the Blackhawks. At 25, he doesn’t have too much room left to grow and for his size, he doesn’t figure into the score sheet enough to expend a spot on the 50-man roster.
Other notable players with North American experience, signed to Frolunda for 2011-12 are Joel Lundqvist (Dallas Stars), PJ Axelsson (Boston Bruins) and Christian Backman (Blues, Rangers, Blue Jackets).
Olimb is currently playing in the IIHF World Championship tournament as a member of Team Norway. His younger brother Ken-Andre Olimb is also competing for Norway.
KYLE HAGEL MOVES ON
In news shared with us by Mike Peck on our TTMI podcast Monday night, Kyle Hagel, the gritty Princeton University graduate who spent 2010-11 with the IceHogs on an AHL-contract, signed a two-way contract with the St. Louis Blues over the weekend.
In some respects, Hagel was the heart and soul of the Rockford IceHogs this past season. His effort and passion both on and off the ice made him a favorite in many fans, teammates and scout’s eyes.
Hagel posted 5 goals and 8 assists (-11 plus/minus) in 77 games with the IceHogs. But those numbers come in primarily fourth line duty. Towards the end of the season Hagel moved up to the third line. He’s versatile enough to play both center and the wing. Hagel’s 245 penalty minutes ranked 5th in the AHL and second among AHL rookies. His 31 regular season fights led the IceHogs’ team by a wide margin and ranked amongst the top in the American League. Hagel had come into his own by the end of the season on a line with Evan Brophey and Igor Makarov, which was a key energy unit and focal point in the IceHogs’ late season turnaround.
The loss leaves Rockford with Brandon Bollig as the prime candidate to fill Hagel’s roll. Bollig himself had a hard time getting into the line up in 2010-11, primarily due to Hagel’s performance, but also because Bollig didn’t show much offensively and took a lot of bad penalties when he did get into the lineup.