Jan Hejda Invited to Blackhawks Training Camp

Veteran defenseman Jan Hejda has reportedly accepted an invitation to Chicago Blackhawks training camp on a professional tryout contract (PTO), according to The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline.

The 37-year-old blueliner spent the last four seasons playing for the Colorado Avalanche, grabbing a goal and 12 assists through 81 games last year.

While he’s not an offensive dynamo, Hejda may make sense as Chicago hopes to shore up their third pairing. In Colorado he absorbed defensive zone starts with a -2.5% ZSO%Rel, yet still managed a positive relative possession mark with a score-adjusted CF%Rel of 0.9%.

In terms of raw possession, that’s a score-adjusted CF% of 43.3%, so it’s not a definitive easy read when his positive relative possession comes on a team that was so thoroughly dominated in shot attempts. In all eight seasons prior to last year, Hejda had a negative relative possession mark.

Hejda has played a total of 627 NHL games over nine NHL seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Avalanche. He also is one of the rare players who didn’t break into the NHL until a while into his career — he was 28 when he made his debut with Edmonton — and managed to stick, playing at least 75% of the regular season matches in all eight seasons following his rookie year.

As Chicago hopes to build another championship team after having many players leave or get traded, Hejda will bring some size and experience to the third pairing if he gets signed. He stands at 6 foot 4, 237 pounds and could be insurance against a possible attempt to run with some younger players on the third pair like Trevor van Riemsdyk or David Rundblad.

Lots of familiar names are taking PTOs this season. Keep up with all the tryout contracts with The Hockey Writers’ 2015 PTO Tracker.

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