Chicago Blackhawks prospect Michael Krutil is heading back to Europe.
The Czech-born defenseman was released from his AHL contract with the Rockford IceHogs and signed Friday with reigning Swedish Hockey League champions Växjö Lakers for the remainder of the 2021-22 season.
"Michael is a young promising defender who has his qualities in the defensive game," Växjö sports director Henrik Evertsson said in a release. "He is big, strong and mobile, a difficult player to face. The agreement is written out for the season."
The Blackhawks selected Krutil in the fourth round (No. 110 overall) of the 2020 NHL Draft. The 19-year-old skated in seven games this season for Rockford. He had three assists in 21 AHL games as a rookie in 2021. The IceHogs signed him to an AHL contract in 2021 after the WHL season was delayed. Krutil was expected to join the Kelowna Rockets, who selected him in the first round (No. 24 overall) of the 2020 CHL Import Draft.
"Växjö is a strong organization that I am very happy to be part of," Krutil said in a release. "I am well aware of how good the Swedish hockey league is and how good the conditions are for being able to develop. Therefore, I am very anxious to get in place and get started as soon as possible."
Krutil joins fellow Blackhawks prospect Victor Stjernborg (2021 fourth-rounder) at Växjö. Stjernborg, a forward, underwent surgery on a lower-body injury in October, and could be out for the rest of the season.