Despite not always getting the recognition that big-name prospects playing in North America might get, for the second straight season Hockey’s Future Prospect of the Year is a Swede playing in the Swedish Elite League. Last year it was Jacob Markstrom (FLA) who posted career numbers for Brynas IF Gavle before heading to North America; this year, after one of the best season’s by a defenseman in SEL history, it’s fellow Swede and Ottawa Senators prospect David Rundblad who has earned the Hockey Future’s Prospect of the Year for the 2010-11 season. Like Markstrom last year, Rundblad will make the transition to North America this upcoming season, likely to crack the Senators top-six.
To say that Rundblad had a breakout season in 2010-11 is more than an understatement. In his previous two full seasons with Skelleftea HC, the offensive-minded defenseman combined for just 23 points in 92 games. This season Rundblad was able to secure consistent top-four ice-time and his offense flourished, scoring 11 goals and adding 39 assists in 55 games. His production continued into the playoffs where he posted ten points in 18 games.
Rundblad will bring a smooth-skating, offensive-oriented game to Ottawa next season. Given his efficiency on the power-play this season with Skelleftea HC, he’ll likely get the chance to work with fellow Swede Erik Karlsson next season with the man advantage; or he’ll quarterback the second unit, providing the team with a potentially dangerous defenseman on both units.