The Chicago Blackhawks have signed defenseman Michal Rozsival to a one-year contract worth $2 million.
Rozsival has a right-handed shot which would provide the Blackhawks with twice as many options on the right side than last years defensive corps. Rozsival is a good shot-blocking defenseman that is capable of playing the penalty-kill as well as top four minutes. Not only is he capable in the defensive end, but he fits the Blackhawks in terms of solid puck movement and passing ability.
In 54 games last season, Rozsival scored one goal and 12 assists, while adding 91 blocked shots and a plus-8 rating. He has dealt with injury issues in the last two seasons, appearing in 119 games out of 164 games, but other than that he has been a rock the rest of his career.
With the addition of Rozsival (along with Brookbank) it is quite clear that someones head will be on the chopping block before the season starts. The defensive corps as it stands includes Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Nick Leddy, Johnny Oduya, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Steve Montador, Sheldon Brookbank, and Dylan Olsen. Given the way that the goaltending situation played out last season, the Blackhawks probably figured it would be easier to plug the holes on defense with a stay-at-home effort rather than take a flyer on the next goaltender for Chicago.
At a $2 million cap hit, it provides the Blackhawks with a cheaper and equivalent player to Steve Montador, who is set to make $2.75 million over the next three years and with questions surrounding his health it wouldn’t be such a surprise to see him as the first one out.