Blackhawks extend Brent Sopel for $7M

Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Brent Sopel was rewarded Thursday with a three-year, $7-million US contract extension.

Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Brent Sopel was rewarded Thursday with a three-year, $7-million US contract extension.

Sopel, 31, will make $2.5 million US in each of the first two seasons and $2 million US in the third.

"Brent has been a key addition … because of his play on the ice and his leadership in the locker room," Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon said. "He has been a real steady influence on our young defencemen."

Sopel has 10 assists and a plus-10 rating in 33 games this season for Chicago, which inked him last Oct. 3 to a one-year deal worth $1.6 million US.

"His composure and his willingness to help the young guys — that's been real important," Tallon said. "He likes the direction we're headed in.

"He has played very well for us. We're very young back on the blue-line and we need a guy like him to slow things down."

Sopel has totalled 39 goals and 191 points in 467 games over nine NHL seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings and Blackhawks. 

The Calgary native was drafted in the sixth round (144th overall) by Vancouver in 1995.

With files from the Associated Press