Viktor Svedberg’s size is the first thing you notice when he’s on the ice. When you’re 6-foot-9, you’re easy to find.
Couple Svedberg’s height with his wingspan and his stick reach, and you can see why the Blackhawks are interested to see what the defenseman could do.
“He could have his heels at the top of the crease and poke-check a guy in the high slot,” Corey Crawford said with a smile. “It’s always nice to have a big guy like that.”
The Blackhawks will now find out how much Svedberg can help him.
Svedberg is expected to make his NHL debut on Friday night when the Blackhawks face the New York Islanders in their new Brooklyn, N.Y., home. Who Svedberg replaces in the lineup is uncertain — coach Joel Quenneville wouldn’t say. But it’s an opportunity for the 24-year-old Swede.
“I try to play my game, be solid and dependable defensively and whatever comes after that, I‘m happy to contribute,” Svedberg said. “As long as I’m solid defensively, I’m playing my game.”
Svedberg was one of the “Black Aces” who traveled with the Blackhawks during the 2015 postseason. He said that experience helped him at the time and again during training camp.
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“You learn a lot,” he said. “You learn how the veterans behave on and off the ice, you learn the systems a little bit more. It was a great experience to be a part of and I think that helped me. You know the routine a little bit and what’s going on.”
Quenneville said he noticed Svedberg’s improvement in camp.
“I saw big progression in his game: a lot of poise with the puck [and his] positioning improved. That long reach,” Quenneville said. “I think the gaps and then going to people quicker is something that he can improve upon but I think his effectiveness with the puck was where he really made big strides. [He’s] coming a long way in a short amount of time but he certainly adds a dimension to our team with his size on the back end. Certainly deserves a chance to play.”