You may be asking yourself…really, Rozsival? Yes…really Rozsival. The way I view the Rangers after last weeks player profile of Del Zotto I have completely finished the current core of the Rangers within these player profile segments, so starting now I will write my posts on who I believe is most important to the success of the Rangers this season and even beyond and you better believe that this top four defenseman for the Rangers is a huge piece to the puzzle. Whether you like him or not, Rozsival – along with Lundqvist – is tied for the longest tenured Rangers on this team as he has been with the club since the 05-06 season. Really gets you thinking about all the turnover this club has had the first few years out of the lockout here. Also gets you thinking how different this current team is as there was extremely limited turnover from last season to this season, and those who did leave were not major parts to the Rangers.
Throughout the time he has spent with the Rangers Rozsival, like any other player, has had his ups and downs. But you could count on him to always be penciled into the lineup in a top 4 dman spot and he and Jagr’s line had some major chemistry going for them in the 05-06, 06-07, and somewhat in the 07-08 seasons. Right now Michal Rozsival is a key piece of the puzzle.
Weight: 212 lbs
Drafted: 4th round (105th overall) in 1996 by the Pittsburgh Penguins
NHL Experience: Currently in his 10th NHL season
Before the NHL:
Before he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins the 17 year old Czech Republic native decided that he would go and begin building his talents in the Czech Superleague. Rozsival would spend one year in that league before being drafted and from then on he showed the dedication few European prospects show by immediately coming over to North America to begin learning a different game.
Rozisval would spend two years in the WHL with the Swift Current Broncos while recording very respectable numbers for a Dman. In his second season with the Broncos Rozsival recorded 14 goals and 55 assists in 71 games to go along with 122 penalty minutes. It was after this season that the Penguins knew that Rozsival did not need any more time in Juniors and was ready to turn pro.
Climbing the ladder Rozsival made his way to the AHL to play for the Syracuse Crunch. In one season with the Crunch Rozsival dressed for 49 games while recording 25 points. This would be Rozsival’s last full season outside of NHL competition.
Rozsival has never been fortunate enough to represent the Czech Republic at the Olympic Games. On the other hand he has played for his native land twice in the World Championships including this past seasons tournament. In 13 career World Championship games Rozsival has recorded just 2 assists, both of which came during 9 games at last years tournament.
Rozsival has 100% experienced a quite successful NHL career, whether or not some Rangers fans want to think like that. Before signing with the Rangers Rozsvial played four seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Keep in mind, Rozsival’s years with the Penguins were not during their glory days as he spent his time there from 99-Lockout where the Penguins only made the playoffs once, his first season. This did not stop Rozy from posting very respectable numbers for a two way defenseman for his time there. His best season with the Pens came in 01-02 where he played in 79 games and recorded 29 points. Extremely respectable numbers for a 23 year old dman learning the ins and outs of the position. Those numbers remind you of anyone? Marc Staal is currently in his 23-24 year old season and is on pace to record similar statistics to Rozsival’s year. Now obviously I’m not saying that the only way to judge a player, especially a dman, is by their numbers, but it’s easy to forget.
After his time with the Penguins and the lockout Rozsival signed with the Rangers to join fellow Europeans Jagr, Straka, Malik, and Nylander to turn what many believed would be the 30th ranked New York Rangers at the end of the season to a 100+ point team and their first playoff birth in nearly a decade. That 05-06 season was Rozsival’s best career to that date as he played in all 82 games for the Rangers while recording 30 points. He would build on those numbers for the next two season. Rozsival would continue to build on his success next season when he played in 80 games recording 40 points, 20 of which came on the power play.
And although since that time, and after Jagr has left the Rangers Rozsival’s numbers have been dwindling, he’s been making up for it by logging solid minutes in all three situations, and being a pretty steady defender for the Rangers.
For his career Rozsival has played in 668 games and recorded 241 points. He is a career +47, and since the 02-03 season he has averaged over 20 minutes of ice time per game.
Outlook 2010-2011 and Beyond:
Rozsival is often the scapegoat for many Rangers fans. Most of us don’t have any qualms with putting an entire loss on the shoulder of this one player, and I’ll admit I’ve done it before. But if we take a step back and realize just what Rozsival’s role on this team has shifted to, we may not be so tough on him. He’s not the #1 pairing dman anymore logging a ton of power play ice time with one of the greatest players to ever skate during an NHL game. Right now he’s but a mere simple #3/#4 dman who is playing extraordinary minutes for the Rangers.
Sure we’d like him to shoot more, but you know why? Because he has an absolute cannon from the point. He’s one of the Rangers best passers and with Del Zotto in Connecticut he might be the Rangers best puck moving dman.
Rozsival is on the books for this season and next at a $5 million cap hit. Is that number a little high? Sure it is. But only by about $1 mil. With the high cap hit always comes the talk of being traded or being bought out and Rozsival’s situation is not immune to this. The thing is though he absolutely can be traded because he has value. He doesn’t have a negative value due to his cap hit like Redden or Drury even, he can still bring solid play to a team and that’s why his name springs up in trade rumors.
However because of the high cap number that may work against Rozsival as like I said in the Drury post the Rangers have a handful of core pieces to re-sign this off-season, and with Redden’s unmovable $6.5 million hit back on the summer books, Rozsival may find himself the odd man out.
But for right now, he’s part of the team, and any dman in your top 4 is going to be a huge part of that teams success, in Rozsival’s situation…it’s not different.
About the Author
Written by Adam Gavriel