Ryan Johnson, the newest Blackhawk, is a tough one.
The Hawks officially added Johnson, a seasoned shot-blocker who played through broken bones in each foot last regular season with the rival Vancouver Canucks, to their mix Friday with a one-year, $500,000 deal.
"I spent the first part of summer just getting healthy," said Johnson, 34, who saw last regular season end when he broke his foot by blocking a shot in April.
"As the summer went on there was some teams that questioned just the health of my feet and wanted me to come into camp without a deal. The way I play the game I felt that wasn't the best scenario for me.
"It was a real test of patience. I had a lot of conversations, but nothing solid or nothing that seemed like the right fit. When this came around, it was a no-brainer."
Johnson played for coach Joel Quenneville and assistant Mike Kitchen in St. Louis. So the Hawks have a good idea of what they're getting. He's a bottom-six forward that can play center or left wing and kill penalties. The Hawks' penalty kill has floundered this season.
Johnson signed a professional tryout offer on Dec. 10 with the Rockford IceHogs, playing in only one game before joining the Hawks. He has finished in the top four among forwards in blocked shots the last three seasons.
"We think he can give us some energy," Quenneville said. "I like a guy that can play in both positions. He is a strong faceoff guy as well."
It's also another veteran voice in a relatively young locker room. The game Friday against the Detroit Red Wings in the 668th of his regular-season career. He returned from his broken foot last postseason and played in four games against the Hawks in the Western Conference finals.
"We like his presence whether it's a veteran thing [but] it's a lot of areas we welcome," Quenneville said. "He's a good guy, a good teammate. He's fun to be around. He'll fit in."
Johnson said he was "a little shocked" that he brought in so soon after joining Rockford, but he's confident.
"I came here to fill a role and to be a part of things," he said.