We’ve talked at length of late about what kind of moves Chicago Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman might pull before the trade deadline at the end of this month. Among those ideas was the need for another defenseman. Is the Blackhawks being close to a deal the reason Viktor Svedberg was sent down to the AHL on Sunday morning? I’m not sure, but it’s a thought.
Svedberg was called up right before the Blackhawks ended their All-Star break by taking on the Colorado Avalanche. He played in that game and was overall solid, contributing an assist to a 2-1 win. Then, he was held from Thursday’s game at Arizona and Saturday’s tilt in Dallas, and now he’s back with the Rockford IceHogs.
This could just as easily have something to do with Joel Quenneville wanting to ride the “hot hand” of Michal Rozsival, who is coming off two consecutive games played. That may not seem significant, but I can’t recall the last time Rozsival played in back-to-back games, as he’s typically spelled by Rob Scuderi, who now hasn’t seen the ice since the debacle in Carolina before the All-Star break.
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Other than that or Bowman nearing a deal for a defenseman, sending down Svedberg doesn’t make a ton of sense. The Blackhawks could have easily rotated Svedberg and Rozsival instead of Rozsival and Scuderi, which would be an improvement, especially if Svedberg kept up the level of play he showed in Colorado.
He looked much more comfortable and confident in his second NHL run, even if it lasted just a game. He’ll always be an imposing figure who won’t be mistaken for the fastest skater on the ice, but if he’s a sixth defenseman for the Blackhawks, he just needs to be relatively unnoticeable. Anything more is a benefit. The Blackhawks got that and “anything more” in the form of an assist against the Avs, but away Svedberg goes.
Perhaps they didn’t want him to rot in the press box, and that’s certainly justifiable. But then why was he called up in the first place? Rozsival was dealing with a nagging lower-body injury, but was back in the lineup by the next game. Scuderi couldn’t have played that one game Rozsival was out? Not that I’ll complain about Svedberg being in over Scuderi, especially when he hits the stat sheet with a point, but it’s odd decision making, from my point of view.
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Regardless, the Blackhawks are back down to 22 players, though they’re off until Tuesday against San Jose, so that could change before the Sharks visit the United Center. Maybe Bowman has a move up his sleeve. Maybe Q thinks Rozi is the truth now. Or maybe … some third thing I’m not thinking of at the moment. The end result is, Svedberg is back with the Rockford IceHogs, and the median age of the Blackhawks’ defense just took an upward jump.