Chicago Blackhawks: Opening Night Defensive Pairs

By Skylar Peters
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Sep 19, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Viktor Svedberg (43) battles for the puck with Pittsburgh Penguins center

Sidney Crosby

(87) during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

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Viktor Svedberg

Svedberg has actually been the most recent Blackhawks defenseman to make headlines this summer, when he re-signed with the club on a one-year deal. Svedberg is the only original defensive prospect the Blackhawks have left of their ‘big four’, that included Stephen Johns, Adam Clendening and Ryan Stanton. All will likely play in the NHL next year. Svedberg’s height (6-foot-8) is an interesting asset, and with one NHL game under his belt, he would join Zdeno Chara as the tallest NHL players of all time. That is certainly a possibility this season, but look for him to start the year in the AHL.

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Ville Pokka

Pokka’s AHL season with the Rockford IceHogs showed Blackhawks’ management that he could certainly make a run at the NHL this season. With Johns now out of the way (traded to Dallas with Sharp), Pokka is the consensus choice for the Blackhawks’ defensive prospect that is most likely to jump to the show. He has shown that he can be an offensive factor on a nightly basis, and if he displays enough prowess on the defensive side of the puck through training camp and preseason, he could certainly have a shot at a third-pairing role.

Dillon Fournier

Fournier spent the 2014-15 season bouncing between the ECHL’s Indy Fuel, and the AHL’s IceHogs. Though he has limited professional experience thus far, many consider him the Blackhawks’ No. 3 defensive prospect, with the departure of Johns. Fournier certainly won’t be on the roster to start the season, but if an injury arises, he could be the one getting the call. The IceHogs will be happy to have him for a full season this year, as both Fournier and the Hogs look to build on promising seasons from last spring.

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