On Monday, the Devils signed 22 year old Czech defenseman Vojtech Mozik to a 2 year entry-level contract worth $1.36 million over two years (680,000 per year in the big club) according to GeneralFanager. Mozik has been a pro in the Czech Republic since he was 19 years old playing for the Czech club HC Plzen. Mozik led the Czech league in the “goals by a defenseman” category with 10 goals and also added 19 assists, good for 29 points in 51 games for HC Plzen. Mozik has seen regular time at the international level for the Czech’s national team. He tallied 5 points in 12 games for the Czech national team in 2014-15. He was also on the Czech’s U-20 team at the 2012 World Junior Championships where he had 3 points in 6 games.
There isn’t a whole lot of information on Mozik out there and I haven’t seen him play in the Czech Republic, but just taking a look at his numbers, he seems to have a bit of offensive upside after tallying 29 points in 51 games for HC Plzen. He is still relatively young, so there is plenty of time for him to develop into a solid 5th-6th defenseman. Mozik was also brought in by the Rangers in 2013 and 2014 to attend their rookie camp, but for whatever reason, no deal was ever reached by the two sides. One would assume that he will be in attendance for the Devils rookie camp in July where we’ll most likely get a better look at the skills he possesses.
For the upcoming season, Mozik will provide depth along the blueline. He will attend training camp battling for the Devils 7th defensive spot but more likely will start the season in Albany and if all goes well, he could rightfully earn a midseason call up. You can never have enough defensemen at your disposal. This is a good low-risk/high-reward type of deal. If Mozik pans out, the Devils could have themselves a solid bottom pair defenseman, and when you’re in the beginning of a rebuild phase, it can never hurt to give a young player with some upside a chance to earn a spot playing in the NHL.