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Blackhawks Sign Smith, Raanta

The Blackhawks have signed contract extensions with Ben Smith and Antti Raanta.
CHICAGO-The Chicago Blackhawks announced Friday that they have agreed to terms with forward Ben Smith and goaltender Antti Raanta on two-year contract extensions, which run through the end of the 2015-16 National Hockey League season.

Smith, 25, recorded career highs in nearly every statistical category this past season, posting 26 points (14G, 12A) in 75 regular-season games with the Blackhawks. The Avon, Conn., native won 50.8 percent (200 of 394) of his faceoffs and ranked second among team forwards with 58 blocked shots. Smith notched a career-best two points (1G, 1A) on March 16 vs. Detroit, including his first career game-winner. He registered a career-long three-game goal streak (3G) from April 3-6.

Chicago’s 2008 sixth-round draft pick (169th overall), Smith added four goals and two helpers in 19 2014 Stanley Cup playoff games; he shared third on the team with a +5 plus/minus rating and 28 blocked shots during the postseason.

A member of the 2013 Stanley Cup championship team, Smith has recorded 30 points (18G, 12A) in 95 regular-season contests with Chicago and has nine points (7G, 2A) in 27 postseason games. The Boston College graduate has registered 109 points (61G, 48A) in 155 career American Hockey League games with the Rockford IceHogs, in addition to one goal in three postseason tilts. 

Raanta, 25, posted a 13-5-4 record with a 2.71 goals-against average and a .897 save percentage in 25 appearances with Chicago in his NHL debut this past season. The Rauma, Finland, native registered a season-high 34 saves on March 18 at Philadelphia. Raanta posted his first career NHL shutout after stopping all 26 shots he faced on Dec. 30 vs. Los Angeles. He earned his first career NHL win in his first career start with a 3-2 victory at Calgary; Raanta made his NHL debut on Nov. 19 at Colorado. He also posted a 7-5-0 record with a .914 SV% and 2.83 GAA in 14 games with the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs. 

Raanta notched a 54-33-21 record and 10 shutouts over four seasons with Lukko Rauma and Assat Pori of SM-liiga from 2009 to 2013, adding a 12-8 mark with four shutouts in 21 postseason contests. He posted a 4-3 record with a 2.09 GAA and a .928 SV% for his native Finland in the 2013 IIHF World Championship and was named as one of the country’s top three players by the tournament coaches.

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