CHICAGO -- After leaning heavily on his top-four veteran defensemen in the run to the Stanley Cup last season, Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville knows it's time for his young defensemen to show they can handle an increased workload.
The Blackhawks start the season Wednesday against the New York Rangers (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN) with several in the mix. Trevor van Riemsdyk is starting his second NHL season and David Rundblad has only played parts of two four seasons. Ville Pokka, a healthy scratch Wednesday, and Viktor Svedberg, likely to be recalled from the American Hockey League soon, are rookies.
"I don't think anybody has that luxury of just saying, 'We're going to wait, wait, wait,'" Quenneville said. "It's a competitive business here. Everybody wants ice time. Everybody wants more opportunity and greater ice time as well, so their performance will dictate a lot of decisions we make, and I think they're all at a stage of their career where we'd like to bump them up more and get more ice time, and our top guys get down to under 25 minutes a game and distribute it a little bit more."