‘‘You like his speed and motion and movement from the back end,’’ Quenneville said late in the season. ‘‘You like his shot, his competitiveness. The area where we’re always looking for consistency [is] that predictability defensively we expect. But he does give us some pace.”–Head Coach, Joel Quenneville
The Blackhawks got beat in every aspect against the Nashville Predators, but one particular area they struggled in was defense. Stan Bowman signed one piece into place for his 2017 defense. The Chicago Blackhawks signed Michal Kempny to a one year contract extension worth $900,000. Kempny was signed from the KHL last year and finished the season with 2 goals and 6 assists in 50 games, but he lead the Hawks in possession numbers–of course, it helped he was paired with Brent Seabrook.
While the 26-year-old did not have a lot of time in the postseason (He only played in game 4 against the Predators), the Blackhawks are convinced he will be a big help next season as the Hawks look to get younger on defense. Plenty of other teams were interested in Kempny who was born in the Czech Republic and was a defensive scorer in the KHL.
While a little small, Kempny makes up for his stature with his speed, mobility, and defensive ability. He has also been compared to the Czech Republic born Marek Zidlicky. The potential is definitely there, but it will be interesting to see what else the Blackhawks do (or can do) to improve their defense.
The Chicago Blackhawks have 7 players up for free agency, most notably Johnny Oduya and Brian Campbell–both defensemen. Campbell has expressed interest in coming back to the Hawks, while other free agents still loom such as Andrew Desjardins and Mac Carruth. The Blackhawks have about 5 million in cap space.