The Friday Five: Hammer Time
On June 6, one of the Blackhawks' defensemen added blew out one more candle on his birthday cake. That's right, Blackhawks blueliner Niklas Hjalmarsson turned 25 on Wednesday. As a celebration of the Swedish import's special day, we bring you The Friday Five: Niklas Hjalmarsson Edition. Swedish meatballs for all!
1. Among the 210 players drafted in the 2005 NHL Draft, Niklas Hjalmarsson is one of only nine defenseman to have played in over 260 NHL games.
In the draft year that saw defensemen Jack Johnson (3rd overall), Marc Staal (12th overall) and Matt Niskanen (28th overall) selected in the first round, Hjalmarsson was selected with the Blackhawks' fifth pick of the day in the fourth round (108th overall). The only other defenseman selected in the fourth round who has played at least 260 NHL games is Phoenix blueliner Keith Yandle.
2. Hjalmarsson scored his first NHL goal just 16 seconds into the April 11, 2009 tilt.
The Eksjo, Sweden, native beat Red Wings goaltender Ty Conklin at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit with a slap shot on his first shift of the night for his first NHL career goal. The Blackhawks went on to win the game 4-2.
3. On December 3, 2011, Hjalmarsson registered a season-high seven blocked shots in one game.
Hjalmarsson put his body on the line when the Blackhawks took on the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center in their second meeting of the season. Hammer finished second on the Blackhawks with 142 blocked shots in 69 regular season contests in 2011-12.
4. The Swede logged a career-high 26:04 of ice time on March 27, 2012 against the New Jersey Devils.
Hjalmarsson also totaled a team-high 3:50 of ice time on the penalty kill. The Swede registered an assist in the effort.
5. In the 2012 IIHF World Championships, Hjalmarsson tallied three assists in eight games played, second best among Swedish defenders.
Hjalmarsson averaged 19:19 of ice time when representing his country at the 2012 World Championships, third best among the Swedish blueliners. Erik Karlsson of the Tampa Bay Lightning was the only other Swedish defensman to register more than three assists in the tournament.