When Michal Rozsival crumpled to the ice after fracturing his left ankle during Game 4 of the Blackhawks’ playoff series against the Wild, it was natural to wonder if that was the last play he’d make in his career.
But Rozsival, 37, said the thought of retirement never entered his mind. He was always determined to rehabilitate the ankle and play hockey, preferably with the Hawks.
It turns out the Hawks wanted him back too. The two agreed to terms on a one-year contract. It will be Rozsival’s fourth season with the Hawks and 15th in the NHL.
“I always wanted to come back,” Rozsival said. “I didn’t want to leave this game and leave this league. It was a bad injury so my thought process was always to get myself back in good shape, get ready, get this ankle back, get back on the ice and keep playing.”
Rozsival re-signed at a reportedly cheap price for the salary-cap strapped Hawks. Rozsival’s deal will carry just a $600,000 cap hit plus a potential $200,000 in bonuses, according to multiple reports.
“Literally I didn’t even think about how much my contract would be worth,” Rozsival said. “I just wanted to be back, be here with this group, be in this organization and help this team do something special again.”
Rozsvial’s deal helps answer one of the questions the Hawks had entering training camp this weekend at Notre Dame – who would help round out their blue line?
With shallow depth along the blue line headed into training camp, the Blackhawks brought in some veteran names to try and round out their roster.
Rozsival came into camp without a contract and has not practiced as he recovers from his injury. Rozsival said he has done some “light” skating but will need more time to recover.
It appears Rozsival will help round out a defensive unit that features veterans Duncan Keith, Trevor Daley, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson paired with young defenseman in David Rundblad and Trevor van Riemsdyk.
The Hawks also invited Kyle Cumiskey, who played during the Stanley Cup Final. But Cumiskey hasn’t practiced as he recovers from a lower-body procedure. He was invited to camp but does not have a contract. The Hawks also invited 37-year-old veteran Jan Hejda and Lubomir Visnovsky, 39, to camp to compete alongside prospects like Erik Gustafsson, Viktor Svedberg and Ville Pokka.
Even after Rozsival’s signing, coach Joel Quenneville cautioned not to say the Hawks defensive lineup is complete.
“I still think there's competition,” Quenneville said. “There's still things to be sorted out."