Mar 21, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman David Rundblad (5) skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Stars shut out the Blackhawks 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Blackhawks will finally begin their playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks. This series will be two teams with two different styles of play squaring off. The Blackhawks will take the ice for the first time in ten days. They will have virtually the same lineup expect for David Rundblad. Rundblad is replacing the injured Michal Rozsival. Rozsival suffered a broken ankle in Game Six of the Minnesota Wild series.
With Rozsival not returning to the Blackhawks this season, they must now turn to Rundblad. Rundlbad is the right choice for the sixth defenseman spot. (The only other competition for the sixth sport was Kyle Cumiskey. Cumiskey appeared in seven games for the Blackhawks). He had appeared in 49 games with the Blackhawks this season. He averaged 12:48 of ice time and recorded 3 goals and 11 assists during his playing time. He is an athletic puck moving defenseman, who comes with some risk and some reward. Runblad’s experience with the Blackhawks this season was most likely the determining factor in his selection.
Despite being the right choice for the sixth defenseman spot, Rundblad does not come without flaws. One major flaw of Rundblad is his lack of playoff experience. On a veteran laden team, Rundblad will be making his playoff debut. Everyone should expect Rundblad to be nervous. Like the rest of the Blackhawks, Rundblad will be rusty. However, he carries a bit more rust than the rest of the team. Runblad has not appeared in a game since April 11 of the regular season. Rundblad also appears to be prone to defensive zone turnover. The defensive zone turnover flaw will be very scary in this series. The Ducks are a strong offensive team that loves to capitalize on the other team’s mistakes. Rundblad could be giving them more chances to score. Despite all his flaws, Rundblad will be on the ice for the Blackhawks in Game one.
In spite of all his flaws, the Blackhawks will protect themselves against Rundblad mistakes. People should not fret, Rundblad will not be getting much ice time. Rundblad more than likely will be getting as much ice time as Kimmo Timonen. Timonen is averaging 9:25 per game in the playoffs. With that being said expect the big four defenseman of Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya, and Niklas Hjalmarsson, to shoulder the load of defensive minutes.
Runblad might be the sixth defenseman but his insertion into the lineup might not change anything.