We now sit two days away from the first Phoenix Coyotes preseason game. It's so close you can almost taste the puck; a bit rubbery but full of hopes and dreams. Today we look at the man who wears number two for the Coyotes, David Rundblad, and how he might stack up this season.
Rundblad entered the NHL with the 2009 Entry Draft as the St. Louis Blues' first round draft pick going 17th overall. After being signed the Swedish defenseman stayed in the Swedish Hockey League for a few more years, ending up with the Ottawa Senators as part of a trade that lead to St. Louis picking Vladimir Tarasenko the next year. It was in Oct. 2011 that he finally had his NHL debut with the Senators. Rundblad's stay in the Great White North ended in Dec. 2011 as he was traded to Phoenix (with a second round draft pick) for Kyle Turris.
Since coming to the Coyotes organization, the 22-year-old has been unable to find a consistent place for himself in the big show, only playing eight games in the NHL last season. He has, however, been a key player in Portland racking up 39 points in his 50 games for the team, a full ten points ahead of any other defenseman on the team.
Rundblad can score, but sometimes has problems in the defensive zone. Though he has improved while with Portland it may not be enough to find himself a roster spot come Oct. 3, especially when he has to compete against Chris Summers, Michael Stone and Brandon Gormley. Will he be playing for the Coyotes at all this season? Probably at least a few games, and those are the ones that matter for the young defenseman. If he can make his mark (a la Rob Klinkhammer last season), in games or in training, Rundblad might just find himself at Jobing.com Arena's blue line a whole lot more next season.