Blackhawks

Blackhawks: David Rundblad will replace Michal Rozsival

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Blackhawks: David Rundblad will replace Michal Rozsival

David Rundblad probably had the same look on his face that most did upon seeing Michal Rozsival fracture his left ankle on Thursday night. It was enough to make anyone wince.

“I just felt really sorry for Rozy,” Rundblad said on Sunday. “He’s been playing really good so far. That injury, too, it’s just painful to watch. I just feel bad for him.”

At the same time, injuries are part of any hockey regular- or postseason — so are the opportunities for others that come from those injuries. So with Rozsival out, Rundblad is in.

Rundblad will take Rozsival’s place when the Blackhawks begin the Western Conference Finals. When the next round begins is still up in the air — three other second-round series are still in progress, including Anaheim-Calgary (Game 5 between those two is tonight). Until then, Rundblad will get in a few more practices to get prepared, which he says will keep the rust factor low.

[RELATED: Michal Rozsival lost for the season]

“Especially if you get a couple of practices like this, it’s pretty quick to get into it again,” Rundblad said. "I’ve just got to try to do everything game-like, even in practices. It won’t take that long.”

Rundblad is more of an offensive defenseman; he had three goals and 11 assists in 49 games this season. Coach Joel Quenneville said Rundblad won’t have a problem on the other side of the puck.

“I think he's been fine in his own end,” Quenneville said. “I think offensively he has some presence as well. He has some direct plays entering his own zone. Just make sure that you make the simple and the safe play and the obvious play.”

When Rundblad does play, it’ll be his first game in more than a month — he last played on April 11 vs. the Colorado Avalanche. He’ll have a familiar partner in Duncan Keith; the two played together a few times this season.

While Rundblad is coming in for Rozsival, will he truly replace Rozsival? Will he log the same amount of minutes? Rozsival, who had a solid second round, was playing anywhere from 15-18 minutes a night. The Blackhawks leaned heavily on their top four defensemen — Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson — after Rozsival was hurt on Thursday night. Kimmo Timonen has played limited time, recording 5-9 minutes through most of the playoff games. Whether or not he logs more time remains to be seen.

It won’t be surprising if the top four still take a bulk of the minutes moving forward. Duncan Keith, who leads the Blackhawks in ice time this postseason (30 minutes, 37 seconds per game), said they’re ready to do play more.

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“I think every game is different and how we play each series is different,” he said. “We have guys that are capable of playing a lot of minutes and guys that are capable of stepping up and playing when they get asked to play.”

Asked about how much Rundblad will play, Quenneville said, “he's gonna come in and play and minutes are dictated by how he plays and how the score of the game goes. Other guys are accustomed to playing significant minutes. Every game's gonna be different, but his play and the game and thescore will play a lot into it.”

Rundblad hated to see a teammate get hurt. At the same time he knows he has to do something with this opportunity.

“Of course, you always want to help the team and play as well as you can,” he said. “Games are so tight in the playoffs, there’s not much room for mistakes out there. I’ll just try to keep it simple and play as quick as I can.”

BRIEF NOTES

  • Andrew Desjardins did not practice today due to illness. Joakim Nordstrom took his place on the fourth line at practice.

  • Defenseman Michael Paliotta, who the Blackhawks signed late in the regular season, did not practice on Sunday. Quenneville said Paliotta’s gone home to train.

 

Getting to know four newly-signed Blackhawks

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AP

Getting to know four newly-signed Blackhawks

The Blackhawks announced Monday that they have officially agreed to terms with forward Dominik Kahun, defensemen Lucas Carlsson and Darren Raddysh and goaltender Kevin Lankinen on entry-level contracts.

Kahun ($925,000 cap hit), Lankinen ($925,000) and Raddysh ($730,000) each signed two-year deals that run through the 2019-20 season while Carlsson's is a three-year deal that runs through the 2020-21 campaign and carries a cap hit of $792,500.

So who are these guys? Let's meet them:

Carlsson

Drafted in the fourth round (No. 110 overall) by the Blackhawks in 2016, Carlsson set a career-high with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 44 games this season with Brynäs IF of the Swedish Hockey League. He was tied for fourth among all blue liners with seven goals.

Carlsson, 20, doesn't have major upside, but he's a reliable, well-rounded defenseman and that's what drew the attention of Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley.

“When he’s on the ice, he makes things happen," Kelley told Scott Powers of The Athletic last summer. "I think what impressed the Sweden under-20 coach was Lucas’ ability to challenge in all three zones. He’s an active defensively. Offensively, he challenges. He keeps plays alive.”

Kahun

The 22-year-old forward spent the last four seasons with EHC München of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, Germany's top professional hockey league, where he established career highs in assists (29), points (41) and tied a personal best with 12 goals, leading Munchen to their third straight championship in 2018 after recording four goals and 10 assists in 17 playoff contests.

He raised eyebrows at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, where he compiled five points (two goals, three assists) in seven games and won 55.4 percent of his faceoffs (41 of 74), helping Germany capture a silver medal.

“He has made an enormous step this year, has become much more stable and mature," German national team coach Marco Sturm said after the Olympics. "I am sure that he would grab it in the NHL,” Sturm told the Hamburger Morgenpost.

Most recently, Kahun had a goal and two assists in seven games for Germany during the IIHF Men's World Championship. He's 5-foot-11, 176 pounds whose known to be a solid two-way player and can play center but may need some time to adjust to the smaller ice surface and NHL style of speed and physicality.

Lankinen 

Lankinen is 23 years old and coming off a season in which he was in the discussion for the Urpo Ylönen trophy, annually awarded to the top goaltender of the Finnish Elite League, after registering a league-best 1.33 goals against average and .946 save percentage in 15 games with HIFK.

He missed a large portion of the season because of an injury, but it didn't stop him from turning in a strong postseason, guiding his team to a bronze medal after posting a 1.99 GAA and .936 save percentage in 13 playoff games. The year before that, he led the league with seven shutouts in 42 games, backstopping his team to a silver medal.

This is a low-risk, medium-sized reward signing for the Blackhawks, who could use some more young goaltending depth in the pipeline, especially given how this season unfolded with the big club.

Raddysh

The Blackhawks signed Raddysh to a one-year AHL contract last June, and he turned it into an NHL one after a strong season with the Rockford IceHogs.

Raddysh, 22, accumulated 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 66 regular-season games with the IceHogs, and has appeared in each of the team's playoff games en route to the Western Conference Final.

Last season Raddysh was named the OHL's top defenseman after scoring 16 goals and 65 assists for 81 points in 62 games for the Erie Otters, where he was teammates with current Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat. He's the Otters' all-time leader in assists (143) and points (184) among defensemen.

Raddysh might be nothing more than a depth defenseman, but his development is worth monitoring because the offensive production is there and that's something the Blackhawks lacked this past season from their back end.

Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa: 'I will not play hockey anymore'

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AP

Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa: 'I will not play hockey anymore'

Days after putting his Gold Coast condo on the market, Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa revealed to a Slovakian newspaper that he is moving back to his hometown country and doesn't plan on returning to the NHL.

"I will not play hockey anymore," said Hossa, who missed the entire 2017-18 campaign due to a progressive skin disorder and the side effects of the medications involved to treat it. "I have a valid contract with Chicago for the next three years, but I have only one health and it does not allow me to return."

Because he has three years left on a deal that carries a $5.275 million cap hit, Hossa is not expected to sign his retirement papers until the contract is completed or else it would result in salary cap consequences.

The news is not surprising, but it officially allows the Blackhawks to move on without him in the fold roster-wise and toy around with some options this summer.

The first is stashing his contract on long-term injured reserve, as they did last season when they utilized the in-season preference.

The second, which Hossa wondered could happen, is finding a trade partner that would absorb the remainder of his contract, usually done by lower payroll teams aiming to reach the cap floor.

And it wouldn't be difficult trying to find a buyer, considering Hossa's actual salary is $1 million per year over the next three seasons. Hossa, of course, has a no movement clause but it's likely he would waive it given his status at this point.

The good news for Chicago is, the three-time Stanley Cup winner didn't rule out joining the Blackhawks organization in some capacity after his contract expires in 2020-21, whether it's in a front office role or as a team ambassador.

In 19 NHL seasons, Hossa accumulated 525 goals and 609 assists for 1,134 points in 1,309 regular-season games, and added 149 points (52 goals, 97 assists) in 205 postseason contests. He's one of 45 players in league history to net at least 500 goals in his career.