The Blackhawks made a pair of moves Tuesday with an eye toward the future — specifically June — by signing veterans Michal Rozsival and Jordin Tootoo to one-year extensions.
The moves benefit the Hawks for the Vegas Golden Knights' expansion draft in June because each team has to make available at least one defenseman and two forwards under contract for next season who have played in at least 70 games over the last two seasons.
Rozsival, a defenseman, and Tootoo, a winger, would help the Hawks reach those quotas while allowing them to protect other players under contract. Tootoo has played in 102 games over the last two seasons, while Rozsival needs three more to hit that mark.
The moves also benefit Rozsival, 38, and Tootoo, 34, in that they have the security of a contract for next season at a point in their careers when they don't take job security for granted.
"It was a no-brainer, being around this group of guys and being a part of something that's going to be great," Tootoo said. "It's an opportunity for me to prolong my career and just enjoy the whole process, take it one day at a time."
Rozsival has played in only 16 games this season but said he would be fine reprising the reserve role in 2017-18. While retirement was an option, he said his family encouraged him to keep playing.
"I still like the game. I still like the competition," Rozsival said. "It's a lot about my family. If I see my kids still want to do it, it's a big encouragement for me. They play hockey and they want me to do it.
"I guess you still have to like it, right? If you don't, I don't think you can perform ... (or) spend all the time at the rink."
Health updates: Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson is unlikely to play the rest of the week because of an upper-body injury he aggravated Thursday, coach Joel Quenneville said. The Hawks have three more games this week and then four days off. They are targeting Hjalmarsson's return after that break so he has time to heal completely.
Goaltender Corey Crawford was back at practice after missing Sunday's game because of an illness. Scott Darling will get the start Wednesday so Crawford can have extra rest to "get his energy back," Quenneville said.
Watch out for mumps: The Hawks are on alert as an outbreak of mumps has affected players on the Canucks and Wild. The Hawks were able to dodge an outbreak that affected multiple teams three seasons ago.
"It's that season where people get the flu, people get sick," captain Jonathan Toews said. "You have to take care of yourself. Get your sleep, get your rest, all the little things a doctor would tell you to do. Other than that, make sure you're healthy and your immune system is strong."
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