The Chicago Blackhawks have lost two more of their players to Europe during this lockout not long after Michael Frolik bolted for the Czech Republic.
Both Viktor Stalberg and Michal Rozsival will head to different European clubs to kill time during the lockout, though only Rozsival has actually agreed to a deal. Both players will be headed to their native countries with Stalberg headed to Sweden and Rozsival joining Frolik in the Czech Republic.
Rozsival will join HC Plzen in the Czech Republic, having spent the previous lockout in his home country as well. Stalberg has been practicing with Frolunda in the Swedish Elite League, but hasn’t actually signed. The top league in Sweden was initially off limits, but that ban was overruled and NHL players can now head to play in the SEL.
Stalberg and Rozsival are set to be interesting elements with the Blackhawks this year.
Stalberg is looking to follow up a breakout year where he posted 21 goals and more than 40 points. There were questions about whether or not the Hawks should sign him to an extension, but it looks like he’ll have to prove he’s a reliable source of secondary scoring again before that could happen.
Rozsival was an interesting signing on a one-year deal just before the lockout began. He’s a very nice addition as a third pairing d-man, but his arrival likely signals a trade coming for Niklas Hjalmarsson, Steve Montador or both.
With a trio of Hawks headed overseas, it will be interesting to see who goes next. The big names have yet to give any indication that they are leaving the U.S. soon as many have been working out informally in Chicago. Hjalmarsson seems like a potential candidate to be next because he’s already gone back to Sweden. I’d put my money on him being the next one.