CHICAGO (AP) -Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel signed a $7 million, three-year contract extension Thursday.
Initially acquired by Chicago as a free agent in September, the 31-year-old Sopel has appeared in 33 games for the Blackhawks this season with 10 assists. He has a plus/minus rating of plus 10.
``Brent has been a key addition to the Blackhawks because of his play on the ice and his leadership in the locker room,'' general manager Dale Tallon said.
Sopel broke in with the Canucks in the 1999-2000 season and has had two stints with Vancouver while also playing with the Islanders and Kings.
His extension comes with the Blackhawks mired in a seven-game losing streak. Chicago's next game is Friday against Minnesota.
Sopel will make $2.5 million in each of the first two years of the deal and $2 million in the final season.
Earlier Thursday, Chicago traded defenseman Magnus Johansson to the Florida Panthers for a seventh-round pick in the 2009 draft. Johansson played in 18 games for the Blackhawks with no goals and four assists.
Chicago also assigned right winger Troy Brouwer to Rockford of the AHL.

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