Jonas Rondbjerg has not posted a point in any of the last six games he’s played with the Vegas Golden Knights. He has just one goal and three points in his 11 games this season and has managed career totals of only three goals and seven assists in 54 NHL games.
However, when the Golden Knights are in need of a replacement forward, he’s always been the first to get the call. And, beyond that, Vegas even utilized a loophole in the waiver system in order to allow him to stick around a bit longer before having to clear waivers once again.
Hockey fans are often enamored with goals and points, and for good reason, so there’s understandably a bit of confusion when a player like Rondbjerg remains ahead of many others who are much more proficient offensively. For a coach though, a player like Jonas offers so much more and Bruce Cassidy has shown it by his usage.
Rondbjerg has done a good job down where he is. He played the other night against Crosby’s line. We have no issues with having him out there against top people. He’s an excellent checking forward, and we’re trying to build his offensive game. Maybe that will come with more reps at this level. Right now we want him to check well and kill. -Cassidy
This season in the NHL, Rondbjerg has been on the ice for 104:27 at 5-on-5. The opposing team has not scored a single goal while he’s been out there and they’ve only generated 11 high-danger chances per NaturalStatTrick.com. This is all while Rondbjerg’s line has started 65% of their shifts in the defensive zone.
Also, as Cassidy mentioned, Rondbjerg has held up against the opposing teams’ best players too. In the last four games he has played at least four minutes against Roman Josi, Sidney Crosby, and Nico Hichier. In more than 13 minutes, Rondbjerg was on the ice for just two high-danger chances against that trio of stars.
In addition, Rondbjerg has found himself at the front of the line on the penalty kill. In those same three games against Nashville, Boston, and New Jersey, Rondbjerg killed 6:51 of penalties, nearly half of the penalty time the Golden Knights have faced. Over the course of his 11 games, Rondbjerg has been on the ice for 15:30 of penalty kill time and also has not seen a single puck in his team’s net.
Cassidy has been asking for a bottom-six forward to step up and take penalty kill time in order to reduce the wear and tear on his top players, Rondbjerg has offered it.
If he stays within himself he’s a really good player for us and he typically does. In fact sometimes you’d like to see him attack with the puck a little more because he has good speed and he can shoot the puck and be a little more offensive minded when he has it. So we’ll try to coax that out of him but that’s not how he’s going to stay here, it’s the other part of his game. -Cassidy
The former 3rd round pick is far from flashy, either on the ice or off it. But there’s a certain value Jonas Ronbjerg has offered to a team suffering from a rash of injuries. It doesn’t show up unless you dig deep enough, but there’s no question #46 has been a real part keeping VGK afloat during this tough period.