Tonight against Florida, the Chicago Blackhawks will play their first of many in a row without Duncan Keith on defense.
Keith had knee surgery earlier in the week. He’s expected to miss 4-6 weeks and has been placed on long-term injured reserve.
With Keith out, David Rundblad will draw into the lineup, likely paired with veteran newcomer Trevor Daley. Brent Seabrook is expected to skate with rookie Viktor Svedberg, while Trevor van Riemsdyk will be with Niklas Hjalmarsson.
Those are the only six defensemen on Chicago’s active roster. Three have a ton of experience, three have significantly less.
“I think we’ve got our group here right now,” coach Joel Quenneville told reporters yesterday. “That’s what we’re expecting to go with right now. I don’t think there’s anything really brewing as far as we’re concerned, or know about.”
Options in the AHL include Ville Pokka, the 21-year-old who’s yet to make his NHL debut, and Kyle Cumiskey, who played nine games in last year’s Stanley Cup run, but was used sparingly.
The ‘Hawks host Tampa Bay Saturday and Anaheim Monday before hitting the road for games on back-to-back nights in Winnipeg and Minnesota.