Brian Campbell may have been the biggest addition the Blackhawks made to their defense, but don’t sleep on the other one. Chicago GM Stan Bowman is expecting big things from Michal Kempny, the 25-year-old blueliner the ‘Hawks signed in May.
“We wanted to upgrade our defense, and certainly Brian is a big part of that,” Bowman said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “We’re very high on Michal Kempny as well. Everything’s new to him over here now. He has one year in the KHL and he did great his first year there, and we’re hoping he has a great transition to the NHL, as well.”
Kempny played 59 games for Omsk Avangard last season, scoring five goals with 16 assists. In a couple of months, he’ll compete for the Czech Republic at the World Cup.
Defensive depth was an issue for the ‘Hawks last season. In the end, they never adequately replaced Johnny Oduya, who played such a big role for them in the 2015 playoffs.
Next season, they’ll have four — not just three — proven top-4 d-men in Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Campbell, with Trevor van Riemsdyk, Michal Rozsival, Kempny, and a few others competing for the rest of the minutes.
“You put all that together, and our defense is looking very, very strong,” said Bowman. “It’s a strong point of our team right now.”