The Chicago Blackhawks have signed coveted free agent defenseman Jan Rutta, the team announced Wednesday. Terms of the deal, which was first reported by TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, are not known at this time, but he is limited to a one-year, entry-level contract as a result of his age.
Rutta, 26, was reportedly being pursued by several teams before deciding on Chicago. He’s a bigger defenseman (6’3, 198 pounds) who will bring an offensive-minded game to a Blackhawks team that could use extra offensive pop on its third pairing.
Last season with Piráti Chomutov of the top Czech Extraliga, Rutta recorded eight goals and 24 assists in 46 games. That was an improvement in point production from 10 goals and 11 assists in 44 games during the previous season.
Rutta also represented the Czech Republic internationally, playing in the World Championships and the annual Euro Hockey Tour competition. During those 21 appearances, he recorded three goals and four assists.
The Blackhawks now have eight defensemen (Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Gustav Forsling, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Michal Kempny, Michal Rozsival, and Rutta) under contract for the 2017-18 season. They’re also over $4 million over a $73 million salary cap at the moment, per Cap Friendly, so more changes are heading the Hawks’ way this summer.