2008-09: Chad Ruhwedel skated for the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede in his first junior season. In 55 games he had 11 assists and was +12 with 30 penalty minutes. The Stampede finished fourth in the West Conference and lost in the first round of the playoffs. Ruhwedel had 1 assist and was -4 with 4 penalty minutes in four playoff games.
2009-10: Ruhwedel returned to Sioux Falls for a second season with the Stampede. In 55 games he scored 5 goals with 17 assists and was +20 with 55 penalty minutes. Sioux Falls finished third in the West and lost to Fargo in a first round playoff series. Ruhwedel had 1 assist and was -1 in three playoff games. In November 2009 he committed to playing college hockey at Massachusetts-Lowell in 2010-11.
2010-11: Ruhwedel skated in 32 of 34 games as a freshman at Massachusetts-Lowell in what was a tough season. He was the second leading scorer amongst defensemen, scoring 2 goals, both on the power play, with 13 assists to finish one point behind senior Maury Edwards. Ruhwedel was -10 with 10 penalty minutes. The River Hawks finished last in Hockey East, winning just five games.
2011-12: Ruhwedel was the leading scorer amongst defensemen for Massachusetts-Lowell in his sophomore season as the River Hawks were one of the big turnaround stories in college hockey under first year coach Norm Bazin. Ruhwedel scored 6 goals with 19 assists in 37 games and was +6 with 26 penalty minutes. The River Hawks finished second in Hockey East and received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament – defeating Miami, 4-3, in overtime in the NCAA East Regional before falling to Union, 4-2, in the final.
2012-13: Ruhwedel made the jump directly from college hockey to the NHL — skating in seven games with the Sabres following his junior season at Massachusetts-Lowell. He signed a two-year entry-level contract with Buffalo in April and made his NHL debut on April 13th in a game against the Flyers. He finished with no points or penalty minutes and had an even plus/minus; averaging 14 minutes of ice time. Ruhwedel’s final college season was memorable as the River Hawks won the Hockey East regular season and playoff titles and defeated New Hampshire in the NCAA Northeast Regional final to reach the Frozen Four. Ruhwedel again led Massachusetts-Lowell defensemen in scoring with 7 goals and 16 assists in 41 games and was +16 with 20 penalty minutes. The River Hawks lost to eventual national champion Yale, 3-2 in overtime, in the Frozen Four semifinals.
2013-14: Ruhwedel skated in 21 NHL games with the Sabres in his second pro season — spending most of the season with AHL affiliate Rochester. He had 1 assist and was -3 with 2 penalty minutes, averaging 18 minutes of ice time, during his time with Buffalo. Ruhwedel scored 4 goals with 24 assists and was -1 with 22 penalty minutes in 47 regular season games for Rochester. The Americans finished second in the North Division and lost to Chicago in a first-round playoff series. Ruhwedel scored 2 goals with 3 assists and was -2 with 4 penalty minutes in five playoff games. He was tendered a qualifying offer by Buffalo and re-signed to a two-year contract as a restricted free agent in July 2014.
2014-15: Ruhwedel appeared in two games with Buffalo in March — playing the bulk of the year with the AHL’s Rochester Americans. He had 1 assist and was +2 with no penalties, averaging 12:46 minutes of ice time with the Sabres. Ruhwedel was the leading scorer amongst defensemen for Rochester in his second season with the Amerks.
Ruhwedel is a very strong two-way player with some offensive upside. He is a strong skater, both with and without the puck and despite his limited physical stature is not afraid to engage physically. Ruhwedel has good hockey sense and has the ability to tiptoe around the offensive blueline to keep pucks in the zone. Due to his conservative nature and all-round skill set, Ruhwedel tops out as a second or third-pairing defenseman.
Ruhwedel was named MVP of the Rochester Americans due to his two-way play and steady presence on the blueline. He may be hard to notice sometimes because he is not a flashy player, but he makes good decisions and has the ability to skate or pass the puck out of his zone. He has a very good chance of cracking the Sabres lineup as a third-pairing defenseman, and at worst will split the season between the AHL and NHL.