After looking at all the definitive roster players for the Ottawa Senators, it’s time to take a look at the rookies coming into camp.
David Rundblad, D, Contract: 1.5/14 (RFA)*
T 2010 (Murray), 6’2, Shoots R, YOB 1990, Lycksele, Swe
2008-09 SEL 45-0-10-10
2009-10 SEL 47-1-12-13
2010-11 SEL 55-11-39-50
*A note on the contract, currently Capgeek has his ELC expiring a year earlier (http://www.capgeek.com/players/display.php?id=1792), but in talking to them they confirmed that the contract should slide forward giving him the full three years
Blues GM John Davidson selected Rundblad 17th overall in the 2009 draft (Central Scouting had him listed as the 6th best European, while Bob McKenzie had him as the 21st overall prospect, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6eqHtdlURY). Director of Amateur scouting (and former Sen) Jarmo Kekalainen called him the best offensive blueliner in the draft, later qualifying it to say he matched Ryan Ellis and Oliver-Ekman Larsson (audio clip at blues.nhl.com/ club/news.htm?id=432918), but emphasizing his vision and then adding that he needs to work on his skating. The Blues signed him on June 10th, 2010 (www.nhl.com/ice/ news.htm?id=531464), but then shocked the blueliner by trading him to Ottawa (www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/2010/06/ 25/sens_trade_pick/) on June 25th in exchange for the 16th overall pick (Vladimir Tarasenko). In the season following the trade, Rundblad nearly broke the SEL record for points by a defencemen (set by David Petrasek the previous season) and won the prestigious Borje Salming trophy as the top blueliner in the league.
Expectations for Rundblad are high (hockeyindependent.com/blog/slasher98/37249 and http://www.edmontonsun.com/2011/06/28/going-green-with-rundblad), including my own that he will make the team out of training camp (senators.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=568466&cmpid=rss-brodie is a good example of why–Murray says he should make the team while Jared Cowen has a chance if he has a good camp). It might seem logical to compare him to Erik Karlsson–both are young Swedes known for their offence and both are right-handed shots–but Karlsson has tremendous speed which is not part of Rundblad‘s arsenal. A better point of comparison is one Kekalainen makes above: Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The consensus is that Ekman-Larsson is better defensively, but his numbers are something to work with. Last year with Phoenix Ekman-Larsson played 48 games in the NHL, producing 11 points and averaging 15 minutes of ice time. I think Rundblad will get more ice time and, as a more offensively-oriented player, should put up bigger numbers. A full, healthy season should see him in the 20-27 point range (ie, a little better than Ekman-Larsson or up to 50% more points; the Hockey Independent link above has higher totals (30), but doesn’t explain the basis for its projections so I can’t assess them).
Pierre Dorion discussing Rundblad in 2010: video.senators.nhl.com/ videocenter/console?id=73041
Comments about Rundblad by the TSN crew when he was traded: www.youtube.com/ watch?v=t6eqHtdlURY
Pierre Dorion discussing Rundblad in 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5SS1EDRJUU
A lenghty highlight package: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5gGQUcVItc
Rundblad is blogging: http://norran.se/bloggar/davidrundblad
The next rookie for review is Jared Cowen.