We still don't know who will replace Michal Rozsival in the Chicago Blackhawks' lineup going forward, but David Rundblad appears the likely option if the team's morning skate at Johnny's Ice House on Sunday was any indication.
Rundblad spent the practice paired Duncan Keith, per reports, and seems to be getting the first look as Rozsival's replacement for the remainder of the team's playoff run. The move isn't surprising given that Rundblad logged the most minutes this season of any option available to the team, and his familiarity makes him easier to play on the go.
This hasn't been the best season for Rundblad, who showed occasional offensive flair but too often made unacceptable gaffes in his own end, and his lack of playoff experience adds extra uncertainty to the situation. He played in 49 games with the team during the regular season, though, and that easily outpaces the recent experience of any other option.
Kyle Cumiskey is likely the next name in the running for the team, and he played in just seven games for the Hawks this season. The 28-year-old has slightly more NHL experience overall with 139 games played to Rundblad's 104, and he also logged six playoff appearances with the Colorado Avalanche in 2010. He would seem to be the more conservative option, even with less time in Joel Qunneville's system. However, the team likely would've had him on the ice with the top guys this morning if it was planning on giving him the first shot at the job.
How Rundblad will step up to the situation is hard to say, particularly if he ends up getting prominent minutes next to Keith. He was one of the least consistent performers on the blue line all season, and it's easy to get antsy about the idea of him misjudging a play and giving up an easy breakaway in a crucial moment. That's something Rozsival had at least settled down during the postseason, especially during the Minnesota series.
Still, this is probably the logical option given how much time Rundblad spent with the team during the regular season, and maybe his talent will finally overcome the occasional mistakes that often overshadow it. If not, I wouldn't be surprised if a bad game or two had the team quickly considering how Cumiskey, or someone else, would fit.