The Chicago Blackhawks and defenseman Jan Rutta are currently tied by a one-year deal, but they should continue their relationship after this season
In a season during which the Chicago Blackhawks’ defense has been oft-maligned for it’s poor play, Jan Rutta has been a pleasant surprise for the ‘Hawks.
I projected along with many others than Rutta would spent part of the season in Rockford. He did not spend anytime at Rockford and made the Blackhawks’ roster straight away. He has appeared in 42 games with the ‘Hawks and leads all defensemen with six goals. He also has 13 assists this season.
He recorded his sixth goal on Friday against the San Jose Sharks. It was first game back from a long-term injury.
If you want to dive deeper into his advanced stats, they are not eye-popping but appear to be solid enough to warrant a new contract for Rutta.
While his Corsi-for is 50.5 percent at even strength, that could be attributed to the fact he starts more often in the defense zone. He has a defensive zone start percentage of 54.6. He starts in the defensive zone more than fellow defensemen Jordan Oesterle, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith. The only defenseman with a higher defensive zone starting percentage is Connor Murphy.
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Rutta is currently on a one-year contract that pays him $925,000. He is going to get a raise in pay. So the Blackhawks would have to sign the unrestricted free agent to a new contract after this season.
His agent, Allen Walsh, is already angling for a new contract with Chicago:
Case for re-signing Rutta
Given the current state of the defense, the ‘Hawks are going to need another veteran defenseman next season. The ‘Hawks cannot count on Gustav Forsling next season, and Carl Dahlstrom has not wowed people his recent NHL audition.
Erik Gustafsson is an unrestricted free agent and might be headed elsewhere next season. The ‘Hawks will return Connor Murphy, Keith, Oesterle and Seabrook to their defense next season. I do not see the love for Oesterle and would much rather see someone else play over him. Perhaps Rutta will return and youngster Henri Jokiharju will be on the third pairing to start next season.
Everything is barring the rumored major trade that has to yet happen for the Blackhawks. Everything could change before the trade deadline on Monday.