The Chicago Blackhawks have reportedly come to terms with Czech defenseman Michal Kempny on a contract that will bring him to North American professional hockey for the first time.
The 25-year-old went un-drafted through his draft-eligible years and stayed in Europe to play in Slovakia and the Czech Republic before heading to the KHL to play for Avangard Omsk last season.
It had previously been reported that the two parties were close to a deal, but that it might not come to fruition until after the conclusion of the 2016 World Championship, which ended on Sunday. ESPN’s Craig Custance reports that the deal was finished on Monday, though details on length and cap hit have not yet come to light.
The left-shot defender finished his KHL campaign with 21 points in 59 games, as well as a four-point run in 11 postseason contests. He will be representing the Czechs at the World Cup of Hockey this fall, and was one of the just four defenseman that was a part of the national team’s first roster announcement.
Chicago is perennially cap-strapped, and bringing in a free agent like Kempny could be beneficial to the team. He’s too old to qualify for an entry-level contract, but should come in at a reasonable rate.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.