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Blackhawks sign prized Czech d-man Jan Rutta


The Chicago Blackhawks have signed highly sought after free agent and Czech defenseman Jan Rutta.

The Blackhawks confirmed that it is a one-year deal.

Rutta was never drafted in the NHL, however, the 6-foot-3 tall blue liner had an impressive showing for the Czech Republic at the recent World Hockey Championship following a strong and productive season with Czech club Chomutov Pirati.

He had eight goals and 32 points in 46 games, finishing third on his team in scoring. So far, the team has not announced the deal.

“Jan has been on our radar for a number of years and he has shown great progress on the ice during that time,” said Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman. “His addition to the organization makes our defense more dynamic and he has shown he can contribute offensively as well.”

It was reported in late May that the Blackhawks had keen interest on Rutta, who will turn 27 years old in July.

“He looks like a late bloomer. He became a big player the last couple of years,” one scout told The Athletic. " He’s a big guy, a right-handed shot who can skate for a big guy. He sees the ice well. He’s pretty good on the power play.”

There is also some coaching news out of Chicago.

Per Elliotte Friedman, Ulf Samuelsson is expected to join the Blackhawks as an assistant. The former NHL defenseman was head coach of the AHL Charlotte Checkers last season, with a record of 39-29-8. He also has nine years experience as an assistant/associate coach in the AHL and NHL, including five seasons with the Coyotes and three with the Rangers.