Blackhawks add Czech defenseman Michal Kempny

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Czech defenseman Michal Kempny (left) fights with American forward Tyler Motte, also a Blackhawks prospect, during the World Championships quarterfinal in Moscow on Thursday; (AP Photo)

The cap-strapped Blackhawks are once again looking to Europe for a quick roster fix.

The Hawks have agreed to a contract with Czech defenseman Michal Kempny, a source confirmed on Monday. ESPN.com first reported the deal was done. Buffalo an Vancouver reportedly were pursuing Kempny, as well.

Kempny likely will challenge for a regular roster spot with Erik Gustafsson, Viktor Svedberg, David Rundblad and Rockford standout Ville Pokka. After an early postseason exit in which their lack of defensive depth was glaring, only Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brent Seabrook and Trevor van Riemsdyk are locks for next season.

The Hawks have had success mining Europe for affordable, NHL-caliber players. This past season, Artemi Panarin came over from the KHL to post 30 goals and 47 assists, and Erik Gustafsson went from Sweden to the Hawks blue line. Dennis Rasmussen also played 44 games for the Hawks after being signed out of Sweden two years ago. Both Panarin and Rasmussen were undrafted late-bloomers. The Hawks hope Kempny can be the same. The 6-foot, 174-pounder will be 26 when the season opens. He had five goals and 16 assists in the KHL this past season, his first year in Russia after six seasons in the Czech Republic. He had two assists in eight games and was a plus-7 at the just-completed World Championships.

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