The Chicago Blackhawks made something of a surprise move on Tuesday, when they announced that they had signed former Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Michael Rozsival to a one-year, $2 million deal. It’s a deal that goes beyond simply adding another player the blue line.
In a vacuum, with no other factors consider, this is a signing that could be a very good one for the Blackhawks. After some disappointing years with the New York Rangers, Rozsival had a very nice run the past few seasons with the Coyotes. Health has been his only real issue, appearing in only 54 games last season.
As a third pairing defenseman, Rozsival is as steady as they come. He won’t contribute much offensively, but is a very good shut down d-man and will help out on the penalty kill as well. He’s a nice fit for a team that could use an upgrade in each of those areas.
But the bigger question is what it means for the rest of the team, particularly a player like Niklas Hjalmarsson.
In Hjalmarsson’s case, it likely spells the end of him in Chicago, if it wasn’t already coming to begin with. Hjalmarsson has been a prime trade candidate all summer, and this move may have just sealed his fate. There are simply too many bodies now on the blue line to think otherwise.
It could also mean Steve Montador could find his way out of town. He’s also been talked about this summer, but he may have to prove he’s completely healthy before that happens. With Rozsival, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Nick Leddy, Johnny Oduya, and Sheldon Brookbank all on defense, as well as potentially Dylan Olsen, both of them could easily find new homes.
Regardless of whether or not their fates have already been decided, it probably won’t be until a new CBA is agreed to that we may actually see some trade action. This signing by itself is surprising enough.
Overall, this is a very nice move for the Chicago Blackhawks. They get a big, gritty guy to put on the blue line, that they essentially pulled out of the bargain bin. His $2 million price tag isn’t too shabby and he could prove to be a very nice addition. My only issue is now there are plenty of guys capable of playing on the third pairing. What about the second?