There’s a lot of growing buzz in Ottawa over David Rundblad. The Senators prospect, currently playing for Skellefteå AIK in the Swedish elite league, nearly broke a league record for points by a defenceman by scoring 50 in 55 games last year.
Drafted by the St. Louis Blues in 2009 17th overall, Rundblad was traded to the Senators.
The 20-year-old should make a splash in a Sens sweater in the 2011-2012 NHL season and should be a fixture on the roster. The team is in full rebuilding mode, so now is as good a time as any for Rundblad to make a difference.
“We believe he’s got a very good chance of making the team because he’s such a talented guy,” added Sens director of player development Randy Lee. “But it’s going to depend on how well he makes the adjustment and how well he performs in the exhibition games. He’ll be given a great chance.”
Rundblat is an offensively-minded defenceman. At 6’2 and 190 pound, he’s got good size on his side as well. He moves the puck well and sees the entire ice surface. Skilled in passing too, Rundblat should be a nice addition on the man-advantage for the Senators.
Part of the knock on Rundblat is that he can be a little too creative with the puck. In a tough and tumble NHL, this could lead to some costly giveaways. If he’s paired with a defensively-minded blueliner, however, he could have more chances with the puck.
“I feel ready,” Rundblad said as he took part in the NHLPA’s annual Rookie Showcase in Toronto. “I know it’s going to be tough to get a good spot there, but I really want it and I’m going to fight for it.”
Like it is the trend in the NHL, the Senators are looking to Sweden for their future. Picks like Erik Karlsson, Robin Lehner and Jakob Silfverberg round out the team. Former scout Anders Forsberg has helped the team look in the right direction and GM Bryan Murray has been recalling his time in the rebuild era of the Detroit Red Wings.
Will this change in direction help the Senators to Red Wings-like success? Hard to say. The one thing that this situation requires more than anything is patience.