Will ‘Hawks be forced to send down Svedberg?

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The Chicago Blackhawks have some decisions to make on the blue line.

With Duncan Keith cleared for contact and Michal Rozsival close to returning too, what of the seven healthy defensemen they currently have?

We’ll assume Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Trevor Daley, and Trevor van Riemsdyk aren’t going to the AHL.

That leaves David Rundblad, Viktor Svedberg, and Erik Gustafsson. Two of them may have to go. Only Svedberg and Gustafsson are exempt from waivers.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

In theory, this is one of those “good problems” Joel Quenneville frequently talks about — an embarrassment of riches. But the problem is, the Hawks’ rookies on two-way contracts (Svedberg and Gustafsson) have played better than the Hawks’ veterans on pricey one-way deals (David Rundblad and Trevor Daley). Quenneville said the pending moves will be as much business decisions as they are hockey decisions. Asked specifically if he wanted Svedberg to stay with the team, Quenneville was terse.

“I could say that, yeah,” he said. “But will that happen? I’m not sure.”

Svedberg has played 14 games. The giant Swede logged 20:12 in Sunday’s win over Edmonton. He’s played as much as 22:08, paired mostly with Seabrook.

To keep Svedberg, the Blackhawks could always risk exposing Rundblad to waivers, or they could explore trading one of their surplus d-men. But typically teams like to have as many NHL-ready defenders as possible. Chicago’s defensive depth was very much under the microscope during last year’s playoffs, even if it didn’t prove fatal, thanks to Keith.