The Chicago Blackhawks have just three wins in their past 15 games and sport the league’s fifth-worse goals against per game. Those struggles make today’s news that much more difficult for the team. Chicago announced this evening that defenseman Brandon Davidson underwent right knee surgery today and will be re-evaluated in six to eight weeks. The team will have to make do without the blue liner for the remainder of the calendar year at the very least.
Davidson, 27, has missed the Blackhawks’ past seven games with the lower-body ailment and was placed on injured reserve last week after the injury proved to be more than what was initially considered minor. A successful training camp tryout earned Davidson a one-year, minimum deal with Chicago, but given his track record of being a solid contributor in the NHL, Davidson entered the year with expectations greater than that of just a last-minute addition. In seven games so far this year, the two-way defender has only managed one point and has been relatively ineffective, but with the rest of the defensive corps struggling Davidson’s presence remained important.
With Davidson sidelined long-term, the return of Connor Murphy becomes much more important. Murphy has been out all season long with a back injury, but recently began practicing with the team and is expected back in the lineup sooner rather than later. In the meantime, the team will look to Gustav Forsling to play a starting role. Forsling has recorded four points in just six games already, including a multi-point game in his last appearance and season high in ice time the game prior. The Blackhawks need Forsling, Murphy, and company to do more than just make up for Davidson’s absence to fix the team’s overall defensive woes, but if they can, the team will be in good shape with defensive depth when Davidson returns in a month or two.