The Chicago Blackhawks have signed Czech free agent defenseman Michal Kempny, according to ESPN's Craig Custance. It's been reported repeatedly during the past few weeks that the two sides were close to a deal and it appears they've bridged the gap coming off the conclusion of the World Championships.
It is a one-year deal with a salary cap hit between $575,000 and $925,000, according to generalfanger.com.
Kempny, 25, scored five goals and 21 points in 59 games for Avangard Omsk in the KHL this past season. The left-handed shooter added two goals and two assists in 11 games during the Gagarin Cup playoffs. He was one of the first four defenseman named to the Czech Republic's World Cup of Hockey roster. He most recently represented his county at the World Champioships where he tallied two assists in in eight games.
The 6-foot, 194-pound blue liner signed with Avangard after spending the past two seasons with HC Kometa Brno of Czech Extraliga. He tallied 21 goals and 60 points during 213 regular-season games in six seasons with Kometa and loan stints at HC Slavia Praha.
Kempny has also been a prominent member of the Czech national team in recent years, including wearing an "A" during the World Championships in Russia. He's considered an immediate impact piece given his age and should stand a good chance of cracking Chicago's opening day roster. GM Stan Bowman had a lot of kind words for him recently, and it's the kind of intriguing overseas deal that has become one of Bowman's calling cards in recent years. We'll have more on the signing soon, but it seems like a smart low-risk move by the Hawks.