Blackhawks’ Rozsival doesn’t know ‘what my role is’ this season
Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival has overcome a lot in his NHL career, but even he isn’t sure where he fits in Chicago’s plans this season.
After suffering a serious ankle injury in the 2015 playoffs, Rozsival returned to the ice last season where he skated in 51 games with the ‘Hawks.
The 38-year-old dressed for the first four games of his team’s opening round playoff series against St. Louis before being a healthy scratch in the final three games.
During the off-season, he signed a one-year, $600,000 contract to remain with the club.
“After last season I had no indications or expectations that I would be back or not,” Rozsival said, per the Chicago Tribune. “So I’m happy to be back.
“Right now, I still don’t know what my role is. It might be determined by the way I play. The last four years I’ve played 20 games, I’ve played 30 games and I’ve played 50 games. I’m ready for anything and for any kind of role. Obviously, I would love to be playing. I’m always trying to fight for my ice time.”
Getting into the lineup won’t be easy. The ‘Hawks already have standouts Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson and they added free agent Brian Campbell during the summer. Add Trevor van Riemsdyk (he’s on a one-way deal) and European free agent Michal Kempny and it looks like finding minutes for Rozsival won’t be easy.
They also have younger options like Erik Gustafsson and Viktor Svedberg looking to make an impact at the NHL level.
“I think Michal played great hockey last year,” GM Stan Bowman said. “If anything, we probably played him too much. Michal is at the top of his game when we can give him some time to re-cooperate between games. He still has a lot of hockey left in him.”