On Tuesday the Blackhawks announced that defenseman Duncan Keith will miss 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a right meniscal tear.
Keith only missed two games last season and has missed a total of only 19 games over the last nine seasons. This is a tough blow for a thin Blackhawks blueline, who already said they were in the market for another veteran defenseman. Lubomir Visnovsky was in Blackhawks’ training camp on a professional tryout (PTO), so he could be a cheap option that the Blackhawks could turn to short term. Michal Rozsival is not eligible to play until the start of November because he is on longterm injured reserve. David Rundblad will likely draw in for now and Kyle Cumiskey will likely be recalled from Rockford (AHL).
Keith was averaging 24:21 TOI so there is a lot of ice time to be had now. Veterans Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Trevor Daley will be leaned on heavily with Keith out. Daley and Seabrook will fight for playing time on the top power-play unit and my guess is that Daley will get the first crack. Keith’s absence will allow Trevor van Riemsdyk more PP time on the second unit.
Keith is expected to be sidelined until mid-to-late November and could even be out until early December.
Here is how the defensive pairings should shakeout for Thursday’s game vs. Florida.