The Blackhawks could really use a defenseman like Michal Rozsival right now
By Jimmy Lynch
The Chicago Blackhawks have a lot of holes defensively. It is one of their biggest weaknesses going into the postseason. They could really use a defenseman like Michal Rozsival right now.
Michal Rozsival did not have an outstanding career with the Blackhawks, but he was reliable. Rozsival spent time with the Blackhawks from 2013-2017. He also spent time with the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Phoenix Coyotes. Rozsival was never a top minute’s defensemen with the Blackhawks, but that was because they did not need him to be.
Playing in the bottom pairing on a great team’s defense is never going to be the most talked-about role, but someone has to fill that position, and Rozsival did great at it. Rozsival was the fifth defensemen the Blackhawks needed in 2015 in order to get them through the first two rounds until that is he got hurt and could not play anymore.
After he fell to an injury the team had to rely pretty much only on their big four defensemen at the time (Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson, and Oduya). While those four players managed to defend the Blackhawks well and bring the Stanley Cup back to Chicago, you could still tell they were missing Rozsival. It is not like Rozsival was ever putting up major points in the NHL, at best he had 40 points in 2006-07.
The Blackhawks do have a lot of players who are meant to be bottom pairing defensemen, the issue is they all have crazy contracts that just do not make sense. Rozsival was making 2.2 million in 2015, and after winning the Cup that number dropped to under a million for the next two seasons.
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Rozsival did what he needed to do for the Blackhawks, and did it with a rather cost-effective contract. It is nothing like the Brent Seabrook contract that is going to plague the Blackhawks especially if he returns from injury only to be a seventh defenseman.
Stan Bowman, or whoever is GM of the Blackhawks after this season ends, is going to have to make some changes. I imagine we might see a few defensemen leave the city by the time hockey returns for the new season. Players like Calvin de Haan and Slater Koekkoek might be done with the team, in the hopes that we can get our younger guys more ice time moving forward.
At the same time if the Blackhawks clean house defensively, I hope they can make room for a cheap contract for a veteran to help in the bottom pairing like Rozsival did for years.