Ok, I’ve got to admit I’ve been a little stir crazy as of late, waiting, wondering when the Oilers will announce the signing of a bonafide NHL defenceman. Yes, I realize it’s only Day 5 of free agency, but c’mon Steve, don’t keep Oiler Nation waiting like this, get us a d-man before it’s too late!!
With the bigger name UFA defenceman locked up in the last 2 days, the Oilers should seriously consider giving Michal Rozsival a call. The 6’2″ 210lb & soon to be 34yr old Czech defenceman has 11yrs of NHL experience under his belt beginning his career in Pittsburgh where he was drafted during the 1996 NHL entry draft, 105th overall in the 4th round.
After splitting 4 years between the Penguins & their farm club, Rozsival cashed in with the New York Rangers in 2005-06 despite missing 30 games in 2003 & the entire 2004 season due to a knee injury. The gamble paid off for the Rangers as Rozsival became a durable defender for 6 & a half seasons with the Rangers in which time he had achieved career highs in assists, goals, points between 2006 & 2008 seasons. He missed only 12 games with New York until November of 2010 where he missed an additional 12 games with a shoulder injury, he was then traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in January of the 2010-11 season.
Rozsival started the 2011-12 season with the Coyotes & after only 2 games played was placed on the IR, due to a head injury that sidelined him for the next 26 games. He returned Dec 8 & played out the rest of the season, injury free. Roszival was an integral top 4 defender, who in front of Mike Smith, helped carry the Coyotes all the way to the Western Conference Final before, in what was a controversial hit by the rugged LA Kings forward Dustin Brown needed help off the ice with what was an apparent knee injury in overtime of Game 5. The Kings would score on the very next shift, where subtle chaos began leading up to one of the more emotional team handshakes in recent memory.
Rozsival provides tough minutes, is fearless & his game is a lot like current Oilers defenceman & fellow countryman, Ladislav Smid but with more offensive upside. As a top 4 defender for the Coyotes, Rozsival was a key player, averaging over 20mins/night of ice-time with a very disciplined system under Dave Tippett, who was comfortable having him out there against the other teams top forward lines. Rozsival is one of few veteran defenceman that remain in this UFA class & is garnering much attention as of late including this tweet from @Bob_Stauffer earlier this evening…
“Fans are asking if the Oilers are in on Michal Rozsival. I am told 3 teams are, but Edm is not. He is looking at 3+M with term”
Well, depending upon the term, the Oilers could increase the cap hit to, ohh, let’s say 6.6-10mill over a 2-3yr deal maybe? This would give management time to allow some of the highly touted prospects to prepare themselves for the NHL. It would be a good move for the Oilers to add some veteran leadership on the back-end to go with a steady, stay-at-home kind of defenceman.
Time & quality NHL defenders are running out so c’mon Michal…