Michal Rozsival was the most exciting addition for the Chicago Blackhawks this summer. And I’m not just saying that because he was one of only two players that they did acquire.
Okay, I probably am, but this signing is intriguing and (sort of) exciting, nonetheless. The Hawks signed the former Phoenix Coyotes defenseman to a one-year deal in September, which instantly sparked questions about the future of some of the players on this blue line.
Rozsival is a solid third pairing defenseman. He’s actually probably an improvement over anything else the Hawks were planning to put there this season. He’s a nice shutdown guy and will toss in a few points. He’s not overly physical, but can step that aspect of his game up when he has to.
If there is a concern over a small signing like this, it’s his durability. Rozsival missed several games both after the Coyotes acquired him in 2010-11 and then last season, when he appeared in just 55 games.
The signing of Rozsival opens up questions about the futures of Niklas Hjalmarsson and Steve Montador. Once the lockout is lifted, whenever that may be, one or both of them could be gone. Hjalmarsson seems like the more likely candidate, but both wouldn’t surprise me. It’ll be tough to deal Montador, though, coming off of concussion issues like he had last season.
But the important part is how Rozsival fits in with this Blackhawks team. He’ll likely serve as a fifth defenseman, assuming Nick Leddy and Johnny Oduya team up on the second pairing. That means Rozsival will line up on the third unit, with his partner remaining a mystery.
It could be Hjalmarsson, it could be Montador. It could also be Sheldon Brookbank or Dylan Olsen. We have no idea. He’ll also add some penalty killing to the mix, which is something that this team cannot get enough of.
Overall, I do like the signing of Michal Rozisval. It’s not a big one, but it could have an impact. He’s a nice veteran presence back there, and he’s steady. As long as he’s healthy.