Blackhawks acquire defensmen David Rundblad, Mathieu Brisebois
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter March 4, 2014 10:25PM
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 4: Bryan Bickell #29 of the Chicago Blackhawks grabs the puck against Tyson Barrie #4 of the Colorado Avalanche during the NHL game on March 04, 2014 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
Updated: March 5, 2014 12:10AM
Just a few days ago, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said he was unlikely to make any moves before Wednesday’s trade deadline, and that the key reason Michael Kostka had been put on waivers was because he didn’t want to carry eight defensemen on the NHL roster.
Well, on Tuesday, Bowman traded for two defensemen.
The Hawks acquired David Rundblad and Mathieu Brisebois from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for a second-round pick in this year’s draft. Rundblad will join the Hawks roster, while Brisebois will head to Rockford.
Rundblad, a 6-2, 23-year-old blue-liner with some offensive upside, effectively replaces Kostka on the Hawks’ depth chart. Joel Quenneville didn’t seem to think the Hawks were planning to move another defenseman by Wednesday’s 2 p.m. deadline.
“We’re going to have eight ‘D’ here and we’ll see how it all works out, see how he fits in,” Quenneville said. “He’ll get a chance to play here in the next little bit.”
In 50 career NHL games with Ottawa and Phoenix, Rundblad has one goal and eight assists, with a minus-20 rating. Last season in the AHL, however, the 2009 first-round pick of the St. Louis Blues had nine goals and 30 assists in 50 games.
Brisebois, 21, tore up the QMJHL the last two years, with 19 goals and 54 assists in 64 games last season. In 28 games with the AHL’s Portland Pirates this season, the 5-11, 180-pounder has one goal and three assists.
Since Jonathan Toews last played a true home game on Jan. 26, he went on a six-game road trip, spent two weeks in Russia, flew to New York for a game and played at Soldier Field.
It has been, in Toews’ words, an “amazing” stretch. But there’s something to be said for getting back to normalcy.
“Some of us, especially guys who were playing hockey during the Olympic break, are looking forward to maybe getting that consistency back [and getting back] in our comfort zone,” Toews said. “You don’t exactly get that when there’s a lot of hype, a lot of stuff going around the game at Soldier Field. But we enjoyed it. Now it’s kind of back to work, as usual.”
Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said one of his goals is to bring fans back in Denver. He pointed to the Hawks as a model for how a dormant hockey town can be reawakened.
“They’ve been doing a super job here,” he said. “Yes, they had the chance to draft [Patrick] Kane and Toews and all those guys, but at the same time, I think this organization has made a great turnaround. Just coming here in a cab, the cab driver’s talking about the Hawks, how popular they are.”