The Chicago Blackhawks have made an addition to their blue line on Wednesday as they inked Czech-born defenseman Jan Rutta to a one-year contract.
Rutta, who has spent the last four seasons with Chomutov Pirati in the Czech professional league, scored eight goals and dished out 24 assists during the 2016-17 season with the club, and he’ll hope to crack the Blackhawks’ roster out of training camp.
“Jan has been on our radar for a number of years and he has shown great progress on the ice during that time,” Blackhawks G.M. Stan Bowman said in a statement. “His addition to our organization makes our defense more dynamic and he has shown that he can contribute offensively as well.”
The addition of Rutta could signal that the Blackhawks are going to start turning over their blue line corps with more athletic players, as skaters like Brian Campbell and Johnny Oduya hit free agency. Trevor van Riemsdyk could also be gone if he’s taken by Vegas in the expansion draft, and so the Blackhawks are shoring up the blue line with players from overseas.
Rutta is the second Czech-born defenseman that the Blackhawks have signed in the last two years, with the team also adding Michal Kempny before the 2016-17 season. Kempny played in 50 regular season games for the Blackhawks, scoring two goals and registering six assists, and he just signed a contract extension with the team earlier this offseason.