After going through waivers unclaimed, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman David Rundblad has been loaned to ZSC Lions of the Swiss National League A.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) January 3, 2016
Rundblad has had a tough time in the NHL since being drafted 17th overall by the St. Louis Blues in 2009. He was traded to the Ottawa Senators in 2010 before making his pro debut in a deal for the draft pick which turned out to be Vladimir Tarasenko. After appearing in just 24 games for the Senators, Rundblad was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes with a draft pick for Kyle Turris. He appeared in 26 games with the Coyotes spread over three seasons, before he was dealt to the Blackhawks in 2014 for a draft pick. In 58 games over the last two seasons, Rundblad has scored 16 points in 58 games, playing sheltered minutes.
The 25-year-old didn’t display enough defensive ability during his stint with the Hawks, which was a reason he was sent packing. Head coach Joel Quenneville told the Chicago Sun-Times he sent Rundblad packing to get him some much-needed playing time.
“Playing more is what it’s all about,” Quenneville said. “It’s tough when you’re not getting minutes and getting in the lineup, and [you’re] doing extra skates. Over the course of the three years, there’s been a lot of times he’s been out. He just wants to play.”
Runblad isn’t a great defenseman, but it’s pretty shocking he wasn’t claimed after being waived. In 83 regular season games since 2012-13, he’s posted a 55.18 Corsi for percentage, while scoring 18 points. Those numbers were accumulated while playing mostly bottom pairing minutes. Given his age, minuscule contract, offensive upside and his lack of an opportunity thus far, it’s surprising to see him go.
He’ll join the likely number one pick in the 2016 NHL draft Auston Matthews with the Lions and finally will get regular ice time.