Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks’ David Rundblad Mistake

By Sean Fitzgerald
Sep 22, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman David Rundblad (5) warms up prior to the game against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 22, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman David Rundblad (5) warms up prior to the game against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Blackhawks were eliminated by the St. Louis from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in seven games for several reasons. One of the main reasons the Blackhawks were eliminated from the playoffs was their lack of defensive depth. The Blackhawks last season were able to ride their big four in Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya. The team also used Michal Rozsival, until his injury, in a limited role, the potential-filled David Rundblad and the corpse of Kimmo Timonen.

The team would bring Trevor van Riemsdyk back for the 2015-16 season as the sixth defenseman. Well, this year the Blackhawks decided Trevor Daley, who turned into Rob Scuderi, who turned into Christian Ehrhoff, would be able to join the “big three” after Oduya’s departure. Daley, Scuderi and Erhoff all failed the Blackhawks this season.

The Blackhawks had to turn to the vastly inexperienced TVR as their fourth defenseman. TVR had 22 games of NHL experience before this season, and the Blackhawks were going to count on him as a top four NHL defenseman.

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All of that leads us to Rundblad. Everyone knows the book on Rundblad — very talented, drafted by the Blues 17th overall in 2009. In 2014, the Blackhawks surrendered a second-round pick for Rundblad. He appeared in five games during the 2013-14 season. Last season he appeared in 49 games, amassing three goals and 11 assists. He also appeared in five playoffs games last season.

This season, Rundblad appeared in nine regular-season games this season before the Blackhawks deemed him unfit to play for them in the NHL, so they waived him. Nobody claimed him because everyone in the NHL said he couldn’t play. So he was sent to Rockford, where Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said it would be tough for Rundblad to see any ice time.

So Rundblad was then loaned out to Zurich in the Swiss-A League for 11 regular-season and eight playoff games. He had two goals and 13 assists during the regular season. He added one assist in four playoff games before he returned to Rockford.

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He returned to Rockford for 10 games before being recalled by the Blackhawks.

I assumed Rundblad was recalled to be a backup in case of injury, but the defense played so poorly that Rundblad found himself in the lineup for Games 5, 6 and 7. Despite only playing 10:34 minutes in Game 6 and 10:35 Game 7, Rundblad contributed to the poor defensive play.

He committed mental mistakes and failed to clear the zone on several occasions. This was the same Rundblad that the Blackhawks coaching staff deemed he could not play in the NHL regular season or AHL. That is indication of how poorly the Blackhawks’ bottom-pairing guys played in the playoffs, specifically Rozsival and Erik Gustafsson. The fact that Rundblad had to appear in ANY games for the Blackhawks in the playoffs reiterates Keith Schultz‘s point.

Next: Blackhawks' 2015-16 Major Trade Grades

Stan Bowman screwed up by not adding a defenseman at the trade deadline. The Blackhawks’ defense was very flawed this season, and the Rundblad mistake just shed more light on a hole in the Blackhawks organization. Rundblad was a mistake for the Blackhawks.

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