CHICAGO—The Chicago Blackhawks and free agent Jan Rutta, 26, have agreed to a one-year contract through the 2017-2018 season, the team disclosed on Tuesday, June 6.
The 6 foot and 3 inch tall , 198 pound defenseman is a native of Pisek, Czechoslovakia and started his playing career in 2008-2009. That year, he played for Czech teams KLH Chomutov, SK Kadan, and IHC Pisek. The following season (2009-2010), Rutta joined the Czech club’s HC Klasterec and Ohri in conjunction with SK Kadan. He returned to the KLH Chomutov in 2010 before making his debut with the Czech Extraliga’s Piráti Chomutov in 2011, with whom he spent four additional seasons (from 2012-2014 and 2015-2017).
In 46 games with the Piráti Chomutov last season, Rutta reached career-peaking numbers in points with 32 and assists with 24 (his 32 points also consisted of eight goals). In 17 postseason contests, he posted two additional goals and 11 assists.
Having scored one goal in eight games, Rutta represented his home country at the 2017 World Championships, where his team ranked seventh.
“Jan has been on our radar for a number of years and he has shown great progress on the ice during that time. His addition to the organization makes our defense more dynamic and he has shown he can contribute offensively as well,” disclosed Stan Bowman, Blackhawks Senior Vice President and General Manager.
Rutta reportedly received offers from the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, and his contract with Chicago has an alleged salary cap of $925,000. He was never drafted in the NHL.
Rutta will be joining the Blackhawks as defensemen Brian Campbell and Johnny Oduya become free agents. He will play alongside seven other registered defensemen in the 2017-2018 season: Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Michal Kempny, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Michal Rozsival, and Gustav Forsling.