With Rozsival in, who is out now?
The addition of defenseman Michal Rozsival to the Chicago Blackhawks blue-line on Tuesday only comes as a surprise in relation to timing. With all eyes focused on the final week before a lockout occurs the Hawks are still “minding the store” by picking up their second player this offseason, and it just also happens to be their second defenseman.
He better provide something more, because at a reported $2 million for the his one-year deal, he’s not just a minor, depth type of pick-up. League sources say the New York Rangers were interested, but the Hawks outbid them by a wide margin.
Rozsival will play, which makes the deal worth analyzing that much more. Though he’s not the most self-motivated individual and it remains to be seen if he can stay healthy, he’s got some talent left if he applies himself. Either way, he more than likely starts as a No. 5 defenseman who will see penalty-killing time as a good shot blocker and perhaps a few minutes on the power play if there are injuries.
He has a decent shot, and that’s not exactly a strength of Hawks defensemen.
But this move adds to a crowded blue-line which means a veteran or even a younger player will probably be on the move, either to the minors or out of town completely. Rozsival joins holdovers Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Nick Leddy, Johnny Oduya, Montador and Dylan Olsen on a team that also signed Brookbank in July. That’s nine players for six spots while, at most, two would be watching from the stands. So who goes?
The easy answer would be Olsen. He’s on a two-way contract and with the Hawks in an urgent situation to win, bringing along a young defenseman might not be a luxury they want to deal with. It’s known that Joel Quenneville likes Olsen but that might not matter. More on that in a moment.