Hawks sign defenseman Cumiskey

The Chicago Blackhawks signed defenseman Kyle Cumiskey to a one-year contract on Wednesday.

Cumiskey, 27, spent the past two years playing for MODO in the Swedish Hockey League. He had four goals and 24 assists and was a minus-4 in 45 games last season. He was tied for fifth among defensemen in points.

Cumiskey played in the NHL and AHL prior to leaving for Sweden. He played in 132 career NHL games for the Colorado Avalanche and had nine goals and 26 assists from 2006-2011. He also has 19 goals and 62 assists in 153 career AHL games. He was originally selected by the Avalanche in the seventh round of the 2005 draft.

Cumiskey’s agent Ross Gurney of R.W.G. Sport Management said Wednesday that Cumiskey was looking for an opportunity to return to the NHL.

“It’s the best league in the world,” Gurney said in a phone interview. “That’s where he wants to be. He had good success in Colorado in the NHL as a young player, 21-24 years of age. We just got into a bit of a contract situation in Anaheim. He ended up in MODO for a couple of years and wanted to get back. He had several opportunities to choose from, all on two-ways and one one-way opportunity. When we looked at the Blackhawks’ opportunity, it made the most sense.”

Gurney believed Cumiskey benefited from his experience in Sweden.

“I think for Kyle a lot of it was an opportunity to just gain some confidence,” Gurney said. “He’s an exceptional skater. He was on the large ice and was able to hold the puck and keep possession of the puck and distribute the puck as well.”

Gurney said Cumiskey also understood the challenges of playing in the Blackhawks’ system. The Blackhawks already have seven defensemen signed in the NHL and have another handful of defensemen on the verge in the AHL.

“I think they’ve got one of the best D cores in the league, if not the best,” Gurney said. “The familiarity with Joel [Quenneville] from the Avs when Kyle was there when he was 21-24 helped. I think the Blackhawks’ European network watched him a lot and knew a lot about him. His style of game fits with the Blackhawks’ style.

“He feels he can break into the NHL. There are certainly players ahead of him. He’s going to have to beat somebody out. That’s up to him. He’s confident if he plays to his ability he can put pressure on them to make those decisions.”