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Defenseman David Rundblad says Blackhawks suit his style

David Rundblad is looking for an opportunity to play. He was healthy all season with the Phoenix Coyotes but played in only 12 games — two since Dec. 6 and none since Jan. 22.

‘‘It’s kind of like a fresh start for me,’’ Rundblad, the Blackhawks’ newest defenseman, said after his first practice Wednesday. ‘‘I really
didn’t get a good opportunity in Phoenix, so I felt like something had to happen. I need to play games.’’

Yeah, about that . . .

Rundblad finds himself in the same position Michael Kostka did before he was claimed on waivers by the Tampa Bay Lightning: He is vying with Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank for one open spot on the Hawks’ blue line.

Rundblad will be a healthy scratch Thursday against the
Columbus Blue Jackets and likely will make his Hawks debut Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres. With the Hawks not making any extra moves at the trade deadline, coach Joel Quenneville again will be juggling eight defensemen.

‘‘I don’t foresee changing too much, the way the rotation has been or the way it’ll go,’’ Quenne-
ville said. ‘‘Nobody’s worked their way out or lost their position based on their performance this year, and I think that’s a
good thing.’’

Rundblad, who was acquired with defenseman prospect Mathieu Brisebois for a second-round pick Tuesday, is an offensive-minded defensemen who thinks he’ll fit in well with the Hawks’ style. He said it helps that he knows Marcus Kruger from their time on the Swedish national team at the junior worlds.

‘‘You guys have got a bunch of skill players, and they play a fast and up-tempo game,’’ Rundblad said. ‘‘And hopefully it’s a good fit for me.’’

General manager Stan Bowman called Rundblad ‘‘really talented’’ and said he tried to
acquire him at the trade deadline last season and again during the summer.

‘‘He’s a really talented player,’’ Bowman said. ‘‘David has excellent offensive skills. I think sometimes a change of scenery can help a player like him. Fitting in with the group we have here, I think he’s got a lot of potential.’’

Quenneville said Rundblad was comparable to Kostka offensively but pointed out that, at 23, he’s five years younger.

‘‘I think he’s got some real nice assets to him that might complement our team,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘We’ll get him a little familiar with how we have to play and how he needs to play and get a better
assessment.’’

Email: mlazerus@suntimes.com

Twitter: @MarkLazerus



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