Chicago Blackhawks fans have been waiting with bated breath and bitten fingernails for potential trades of players such as Patrick Sharp, Bryan Bickell and Kris Versteeg, as well as the resigning of players such as Brandon Saad, Marcus Kruger and maybe Brad Richards.
According to Sportsnet reporter Elliotte Friedman, Stan Bowman has given Rundblad a two-year deal with a $1 million cap hit per season.
It’s not terribly surprising Rundblad has been brought back. Johnny Oduya, Michal Rozsival and Kyle Cumiskey are likely gone, and the ’Hawks will be trying to plug in young defensemen without much NHL experience next season. This gives the ’Hawks a playable option on the third pairing at a not-too-painful cap hit. The deal being for two years instead of one is interesting, though we’ve learned not to doubt Bowman’s maneuvers.
The ’Hawks officially announced the move around 1:40 p.m. today, confirming that Rundblad will indeed be back for his second and third seasons in Chicago. (He did play five games with the ’Hawks in 2013-14, but 2014-15 was his first true full season in Chicago.)
Rundblad played in 49 regular-season games in 2014-15 with the ’Hawks, tallying three goals, 11 assists and a plus-17 rating that received plenty of help with primarily offensive-zone starts. All but two of his points came at even strength in the regular season. During the playoffs, when he filled in for the injured Rozsival, Rundblad had no points and was a plus-2 in five games, averaging about 7 minutes, 30 seconds of ice time in his first career NHL playoff action.
The ’Hawks now have close to $64.3 million against the salary cap for 2015-16 with Saad, Kruger, Richards, Andrew Desjardins and several other unsigned, although the “several others” are likely to hit free agency, while those four forwards seem most sought after by Chicago at this point. The salary cap is set at $71.4 million for next season, meaning the situation for the Chicago Blackhawks hasn’t changed: They still need to move some bodies.
This signing also means the ’Hawks are giving guys like Stephen Johns, Ville Pokka and Victor Svedberg a shot at the No. 6 D spot, while short-time fan favorite Trevor Van Riemsdyk is also waiting in the wings.
What do you think about the deal with Rundblad? Let us know in the comments.
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