Blackhawks’ Svedberg knows more is expected without Keith

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Viktor Svedberg, right, will be asked to help pick up the slack in the absence of Duncan Keith.
DAVID BANKS/AP

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Viktor Svedberg said he believes it's going to take a full team effort to make up for the loss of veteran Duncan Keith.

Keith, who is the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner and two-time Norris Trophy recipient, was placed on long-term injured reserve on Wednesday after undergoing surgery to repair a meniscal tear in his knee on the previous day. Keith averaged a team-high 24:21 of ice time, but is expected to be sidelined four-to-six weeks.

“He's a key player for us. He (provides a) big impact for us out there, so we have a lot of guys here who have to step up and fill that hole,” Svedberg said of Keith prior to Chicago's home game against the Florida Panthers on Thursday. “He's hard to replace, but if we can fill it up all together, it will do us good.”

Svedberg credits defenseman Brent Seabrook for providing leadership and working with him on his game as he adjusts to life in the NHL. The 24-year-old Swede has collected one goal in five games this season with the Blackhawks after spending each of the last two campaigns with Rockford of the American Hockey League.

Keith's absence leaves the team's blue line a bit barren, as Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson will need to lean a bit more on Trevor Daley, David Rundblad, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Svedberg. Veteran Michal Rozsival is still recovering from an ankle injury.