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Friday, July 5, 2013
Hawks re-sign Handzus, Rozsival

By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com

The Chicago Blackhawks re-signed center Michal Handzus and defenseman Michal Rozsival on Friday.

The 36-year-old Handzus, who became an unrestricted free agent on Friday, signed a one-year deal. Handzus came to the Blackhawks at the trade deadline last season from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman was glad to lock up the pair.

"It's certainly nice to have a lot of continuity," Bowman said. "We had some success with this group last year. I think (Handzus) came in and in a short amount of time we could really see his value in a number of ways. He certainly brings some size. His faceoff ability was well documented. I think his experience level and just the fact that our coaches are really comfortable with his ability to play in different roles on our team. That was a big reason why we wanted to bring him back. I think he brought a lot of good things to the table. We had a lot of success with him in the lineup."

Rozsival, 34, signed a two-year deal. He had 12 assists and a plus-18 rating in 27 games during his first season with the Blackhawks. He had four assists and a plus-9 rating in 23 playoff games, including three assists against the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals.

"I think defense is critical that you have depth and you have experience at," Bowman said. "Players you're really confident can get the job done, and I think the way [Rozsival] played this year was really in excess of our expectations."

"He's been a real nice fit to our team since the start of the season," coach Joel Quenneville said of Rozsival during the Stanley Cup finals. "Rosy is predictable, experienced, patience level with the puck is something we haven't had in some time in that role. I think in that role, in that position, it really enhanced our overall team game. I think the depth of our defense from the outset of the season was probably the greatest improvement from last year to this year, and I think he's one of the big factors in that area."

Handzus had one goal, five assists and a plus-7 rating in 11 regular-season games for the Blackhawks. He played a larger role in the playoffs, often playing center on the second line, and had three goals, eight assists and a plus-7 rating during the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup run. It was revealed after the season that Handzus had played with a broken wrist and a torn MCL during the Stanley Cup finals.

Quenneville said he was surprised late in the season how much of a role Handzus played in the team's playoff success.

"I thought he could give us some depth," Quenneville said during the Western Conference finals. "He could play in a situation where he could take faceoffs. See how he handles being a 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th forward. He gives us experience, great team guy.

"And then late in the year, [Dave Bolland] was hurt, he got an opportunity to get a little bit more ice time. Late in the year he got a chance to play with [Patrick Sharp] and [Patrick Kane]. Looked like he belonged there. So it was a nice discovery there as well. One thing you love about Handy, you love the consistency of his game and the way he prepares himself and what he brings to the team."

Since winning the Stanley Cup, the Blackhawks have re-signed unrestricted free agents Handzus, Rozsival and forward Bryan Bickell and restricted free agent defenseman Nick Leddy. They also traded Bolland to the Toronto Maple Leafs for draft picks and forward Michael Frolik to the Winnipeg Jets for draft picks.

Ray Emery, who backed up Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford last season, signed with the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday.

Left wing Viktor Stalberg left the Hawks to sign with the Nashville Predators. A source told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun that it is a four-year, $12 million deal.