CHICAGO — The Chicago Blackhawks popped up on the radar this morning for the first time in a while as they made to noteworthy moves on Wednesday morning. The first was a move to shore up the blue line with the signing of Czech defenseman Jan Rutta to a one-year deal. Rutta follows fellow Czech compatriots Michal Kempny and the recently signed David Kampf.
Rutta, 27, tallied eight goals and 24 assists in 46 games for Pirati Chomutov of the Czech Extraliga, the top league in the Czech Republic. The 27-year old d-man spent each of the last three seasons playing along side the recently signed David Kampf in the Czech Republic, and adds another right-handed shot to the Blackhawks blue line arsenal for the 2017-2018 campaign.
With the recent additions one would be led to believe that Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman has a move up his sleeve, that will likely involved a defenseman being moved in a trade in the coming weeks. Last week it was reported that the Blackhawks and the Las Vegas Golden Knights were having discussions involving Blackhawks’ defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk. With TVR yet to live up to the expectations that were placed upon his when he broke through with the Blackhawks at the NHL level, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the front-office include him in a deal this summer.
Of course it’s also possible that the Golden Knights just simply select TVR in the upcoming expansion draft and the ‘Hawks receive nothing in return for him. That possibility coupled with the departure of Johnny Oduya and the likely possibility that Brian Campbell will not be a part of the blue line corps next season, leaves the Blackhawks searching for answers on the defensive end of the ice this summer.
In other Blackhawks news, the team has tabbed Ulf Samuelsson as Mike Kitchen‘s replacement on the Blackhawks bench as Joel Quenneville‘s assistant coach for the upcoming season. Samuelsson, a 16-year NHL veteran, spent last season as the Head Coach of the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL least season. Prior to that Samuelsson spent eight seasons on the Arizona Coyotes and New York Rangers’ coaching staffs.
Samuelsson is a former teammate of Head Coach Joel Quenneville, and an official announcement of the move is expected to take place in the coming days.