When the Chicago Blackhawks put defenseman Michael Kostka on waivers, it was to give him an opportunity he wasn’t going to get on this depth chart.
So it was a bit surprising to see the Blackhawks pick up another defenseman on Tuesday, giving them eight in Chicago once again. For David Rundblad, however, it’s an opportunity he hopes he can use.
Rundblad was acquired, along with Mathieu Brisebois, from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for a second-round draft pick on Tuesday. Rundblad was somewhat surprised he was moved but he’s ready to see what can come out of it.
“We haven’t been talking to much (about my role) yet, but I’m excited just to be here right now,” said Rundblad, who will wear No. 5 for the Blackhawks. “I’m an offensive guy; I try to make plays. You guys have a bunch of skilled players and they play a fast, up-tempo game and hopefully that’s a good fit for me.”
The Blackhawks put Kostka on waivers late last month; he was picked up by the Tampa Bay Lightning, whose head coach, Jon Cooper, had Kostka in their AHL days in Norfolk. So why send one defenseman away just to pick up another one? Seems the Blackhawks have had their eye on the 23-year-old Rundblad for a while now.
“We spoke a year ago with Phoenix and they were not in a position to move him, spoke again in the summer, timing didn’t work. It finally came up the other day where they were ready to make a move,” general manager Stan Bowman said. “He’s really talented player. David’s got excellent offensive skills. I think sometimes a change of scenery can help a player like him. Fitting in with a group like we have here, he has potential. With our style of play, we have the puck a lot, like to hold onto it and make plays, and that’s what he does best. There are areas he can improve but you can say that about a lot of young players.”
The Blackhawks are back to having eight defenseman. When Rundblad plays is uncertain right now; coach Joel Quenneville said Sheldon Brookbank will play against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night. But the Blackhawks will get a glimpse of him soon enough.
“I think he’s got some real nice assets to him that might complement our team,” Quenneville said of Rundblad. “We’ll get him a little familiar with how we have to play and how he needs to play and get a better assessment. But we’ll get a chance to get him in here in the next game or two.”