When training camp opened in September, Viktor Svedberg was probably 13th on the Blackhawks’ defensive depth chart. By the time camp opens next year, it’s possible he could be in the mix for an NHL spot. Things change quickly in this business.
With Johnny Oduya and Michal Rozsival set to be unrestricted free agents, David Rundblad a restricted free agent, Kimmo Timonen planning to retire, and prospects Klas Dahlbeck and Adam Clendening traded during the season, the door could be opening for Svedberg.
Just as long as it’s a big door. Svedberg is 6-foot-8, 238 pounds.
“Obviously we lost a couple of really good guys (Clendening and Dahlbeck), and some guys had to earn their ice time,” Svedberg said. “I got some parts of it, and it helped me become more confident and play better, too.”
That’s just the nature of minor-league hockey, where teammates are friends, but enemies at the same time.
“They’re good friends and I’m happy for them to get a chance somewhere else,” Svedberg said of Clendening and Dahlbeck, each of whom got a call-up during the season. “But it leaves opportunities for others in the organization.”
Svedberg is one of four Black Aces called up in the wake of Rockford’s second-round loss in the AHL’s Calder Cup playoffs, along with defenseman Ville Pokka and forwards Ryan Hartman and Philip Danault. Stephen Johns, arguably the top defenseman in the system, would have been called up, too, had he not broken his arm in the IceHogs’ last game.
Svedberg is a restricted free agent following this season, too. And how he looks and works during practices could determine whether the Hawks try to re-sign him or not. Svedberg is tall, but time is short.
“It’s a good opportunity to be here, and whatever happens next, we’ll take that after the season,” said Svedberg, who had three goals and 11 assists in 49 games in his second season with Rockford.