ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Rockford IceHogs, proud American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League (NHL), announced today that defenseman Dmitri Osipov has re-signed with the club on an AHL contract for the 2021-22 season.
Osipov, 24, returns for his fourth season with the IceHogs after leading the club with 46 hits last season, earning the team’s Heavy Hitter award. Over 22 games, the Moscow, Russia, native, recorded two goals and four assists for six points. He also appeared in 16 regular-season games with the Indy Fuel of the ECHL, where he picked up six points (three goals, three assists).
“When he’s on the ice, the other guys feel a little safe,” mentioned IceHogs Head Coach Derek King. “Every team in the league usually has a couple of guys that can throw the body around and back it up. It was nice to have that in our lineup. He’s made some strides. He’s a nice skater. Has a hard shot. He’s improved on his puck plays. I’m going to look to him for leadership next year. He’s one of the older guys on the team now. There’s another role for him to thrive in and a challenge for him.”
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound blueliner skated in 28 games with the IceHogs during the 2019-20 season, registering one goal and dressed in eight games in 2018-19, adding two assists. He also appeared in eight games with the Fuel two seasons ago, scoring four points (one goal, three assists) and netted a career-high 13 points in 2018-19 with a goal and 12 assists over 66 matchups and won the Fuel’s Defenseman of the Year award.
“Home, sweet home,” smiled Osipov. “Going forward, I want to work on my strengths and the weaknesses will follow. Hopefully, next year will be a better year in terms of a non-COVID season and hopefully push into the playoffs and work our way to the Cup. I want to be a good defensive defenseman and shutdown defenseman and help the team as much as I can.”
Coach King also mentioned that Dmitri is another example of a player he hopes can turn his AHL contract into an NHL opportunity. “The big thing for him to now is, like a lot of guys on American Hockey League deals, let's change those into NHL deals. Everybody’s dream is to play in the NHL. They cannot be survivors playing in the AHL. They’ve got to hone their game to where they are potential NHL hockey players. I think Ozzy has that in him.”