When Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Michael Kostka was claimed off of waivers last week, the belief was that Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville were slightly changing philosophy and possibly opening up the last roster spot for a forward. However, with the team’s recent acquisition of David Rundblad and Mathieu Brisebois from the Phoenix Coyotes, it’s clear the Blackhawks will continue onwards with a mix of size and speed four pairings deep at the NHL level.
Size and speed is a creed that Blackhawks scouts and management have successfully enforced at every level of the Blackhawks organization. The Blackhawks at the NHL level have every defensive pairing lined up to incorporate a strong checking presence with an offensive punch from either point. It is a philosophy that can be seen throughout the Blackhawks’ prospect depth chart and something which will continue to be enforced.
That’s where Brisebois finds himself in a difficult, but opportune position. Assigned directly to Rockford, he will continue attempting to find success during his rookie year in the AHL. There, he finds himself behind Klas Dahlbeck and the aforementioned Rundblad with regards to smooth-skating defenseman within the Blackhawks AHL affiliate.
From an optimistic point of view, the Blackhawks acquired two possible NHL defenseman who fit a Nick Leddy-inspired mold; smaller point men who can lead a rush and remain active in their offensive zone. Rundblad may get his NHL chance sooner rather than later, but that’s not to say Brisebois won’t as well someday.
Both are young, share a unique skillset, and have the opportunity to create their own identity within the Blackhawks organization — an organization that values results and roles over pure talent.
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