The Blackhawks signed restricted free-agent defenseman David Rundblad to a two-year contract on Monday. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the deal carried a $1-million cap hit. It’s the Hawks’ first signing of the offseason. Brandon Saad and Marcus Kruger, the Hawks’ other two restricted free agents, are the top priority now with free agency opening on July 1.
Rundblad, acquired at the 2014 trade deadline from Arizona, played 49 games for the Hawks this season, posting three goals and 11 assists. He also appeared in five playoff games. The 24-year-old has shown some offensive flair, with a good shot and good vision. He still needs to improve in his own end, but with Johnny Oduya and Michal Rozsival almost certain to leave via unrestricted free agency, Rundblad could be an everyday player for the Hawks next season.
“I think David has shown nice progress the time we’ve had him here,” Hawks general manager Stan Bowan said last week. “Last season he came in late, didn’t get much ice time. This year, played 50-some games and got playoff experience. He’s looking to build on that, play a bigger role. I think a big part of defensemen is just confidence, and getting familiar with the NHL. He certainly did that this year. We like what he brings to the table. I think there’s more to give there for him. He can expand his role and I know it would be nice to see him get an opportunity to contribute even more going into next year.”