Hawks, David Rundblad agree to mutual termination of contract

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David Rundblad played just nine regular-season games for the Blackhawks this season. (AP Photo)

The Blackhawks and defenseman David Rundblad have parted ways, mutually agreeing to a termination of his contract. Rundblad’s agent, Claude Lemieux, said Rundblad wanted to “explore other opportunities.”

Rundblad, acquired by the Hawks from Arizona (in exchange for a second-round pick) on March 4, 2014 and then re-signed to a two-year contract last summer, never managed to establish himself as an everyday player in the NHL. A smooth skater with a big shot, Rundblad was effective offensively and on the power play, but was a liability in his own end.

A first-round pick of the Blues in 2009 — he was eventually traded for a pick that became Vladimir Tarasenko — Rundblad has spent most of his NHL career as a heathy scratch. He played in just 12 of 61 games for the Coyotes in 2013-14 before being traded to Chicago, where he played just five of 20 games, and none in the playoffs. He played 49 games in 2014-15, but just nine last season before being loaned to a Swiss team. He returned shortly before the playoffs and played four games in the Hawks’ seven-game loss to the St. Louis Blues, but never lived up to the potential general manager Stan Bowman saw in him.

“David indicated to us that he wanted to kind of get a fresh start, so I think he’s looking to maybe pursue some other opportunities, whether it’s in the NHL or maybe in Europe,” Bowman said earlier this month. “He’s still a young guy. I think he wants to get back to playing a lot of hockey, and I know that was the reason he wanted to go over to Europe mid-season. We were willing to honor that request and we’re going to let him find a spot where he knows he’s going to be a regular player every day, a lot of minutes. I think he’s got a bright future.”

With his contract terminated, Rundblad will carry no cap hit for the Hawks, who are pursuing 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner Jimmy Vesey, who will be an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 15. Had the Hawks buried Rundblad in the AHL, he would have counted $100,000 against the salary cap. Had the Hawks bought out his contract, he would have counted $133,333 against the cap this season, and $183,333 next season.

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