The Blackhawks brought back two key contributors to their Stanley Cup championship team and lost two others as NHL free agency opened
Defenseman Michal Rozsival agreed to a 2-year contract, while center Michal Handzus accepted a 1-year deal to return to the Hawks. Backup goaltender Ray Emery left for the Philadelphia Flyers, and winger Viktor Stalberg inked a deal with the Nashville Predators.
The 34-year-old Rozsival had 12 assists in 27 regular-season games in his first campaign with the Hawks after signing as a free agent last summer. He had four assists in 24 postseason games.
Handzus, who was acquired by the Hawks from San Jose on April 1, had a goal and five assists in 11 regular-season games, and then had three goals and eight assists as the No. 2 center in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Hawks will have a new backup goalie in 2013-14 as Emery, who teamed with Corey Crawford to win the William B. Jennings Trophy awarded to team with the lowest goals-against average, signed a 1-year, free-agent contract with the Flyers. The deal is reportedly for $1.65 million.
“[The Blackhawks were] a situation where Corey has 1 year left ... and he’s going to make 5 or 6 million for the next little while, and I felt the writing was on the wall for myself,” Emery told the Flyers’ team website. “In Philly, it’s a new situation, and a place where I could play more games.”
Stalberg signed a 4-year, $12 million contract with the Preds.
On June 3, the Hawks signed Antti Raanta from the Finnish league to a 1-year contract. The 24-year-old Raanta went 21-10-11 record with five shutouts, a 1.85 goals-against average and .943 save percentage in 45 games last season.
“We looked at signing him as a move for the future,” GM Stan Bowman said. “He’s a young guy ... and hopefully he can adjust to North America quickly. Sometimes, that takes a little bit of time, so we’re not trying to rush him into anything.
“... We want to allow for that transition, and if it happens quickly, that’s great. But they’re not necessarily related to one another.”
There is one other Hawks unrestricted free agent: Jamal Mayers. The veteran is deciding whether to return to the NHL or retire.
The Hawks tendered qualifying offers to Kyle Beach, Marcus Kruger, Shawn Lalonde and Ryan Stanton, so they are restricted free agents with the Hawks having an opportunity to match any offers and retain them.
• Michal Rozsival, defenseman
• Michal Handzus, center
• Ray Emery, goaltender (to Flyers)
• Viktor Stalberg, winger (to Predators)
• Henrik Karlsson, goaltender (to Sweden)
• Carter Hutton, goaltender (to Predators)
• Antti Raanta, goaltender (from Finland)