The Chicago Blackhawks continued to improve what they saw as “definite defensive flaws” from the playoffs and signed another defensive player to their team for next year. The Blackhawks signed Defenseman Jan Rutta to a one-year entry-level contract for $925,000. The 26-year-old Czech joins Michal Kempny and forward David Kampf.
Jan Rutta is an offensive D-man, who is reminiscent of Nick Leddy. He was being groomed by both the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames before ultimately settling on the Blackhawks. Rutta played last year with Pirati Chomutov of the Czech Hockey League.
“Jan has been on our radar for a number of years and he has shown great progress during that time, His addition to the organization makes our defense more dynamic and he has shown he can contribute offensively as well.” –Stan Bowman
Rutta scored 8 goals and 24 assists in 46 games last season. The Hawks hope that he will be able to make the adjustment from European to NHL, and seeing as how he is a right-handed shot, will help balance the team a little bit more. The Hawks have 8 defensemen signed right now, but will most likely lose Trevor Van Riemsdyk to Las Vegas, and Brian Campbell and Johnny Oduya are both free agents.
The Blackhawks are still over the salary cap, but most experts do not think the Blackhawks are done making moves even in the coaching staff. With the draft coming up at the end of June and taking place in Chicago, the Blackhawks will most likely try to make a big move to help bolster the draft.
New Assistant Coach
The Blackhawks also signed the replacement for assistant coach Mike Kitchen, announcing Ulf Samuelsson has taken on those responsibilities. Samuelsson used to play defense for the Hartford Whalers and played alongside Coach Joel Quenneville. Samuelsson also coached for the Charlotte Checkers in the AHL and used to be an assistant in Phoenix for the Coyotes.