Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy placed on LTIR


Murphy injured his groin during Tuesday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy was placed on long-term injured reserve Wednesday afternoon. Murphy did not come out of the Blackhawks dressing room for the third period Tuesday after suffering an apparent groin injury. It has yet to be determined if Murphy injured the same groin that kept him out of the regular-season opener.

Recently, Murphy has been playing on the Blackhawks top defensive pairing alongside Duncan Keith. He’s performed well in that role so far, as the Blackhawks have been strong defensively in the last couple of games.

Murphy has yet to pick up a point in six games this season, but he has a strong 57.7 Corsi-For percentage. He’s averaging 21:44 TOI per game, which is good for second on the Blackhawks. Murphy has arguably been the Blackhawks’ best defenseman, so his loss is a tough one for the defense.

The Blackhawks recalled defenseman Dennis Gilbert from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League on Wednesday. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound blueliner played in the season opener against the Flyers on the third defensive pairing with Slater Koekkoek. Gilbert had a costly turnover that led to a Travis Konecny goal early in the first period, but he settled down and played well for the remainder of the contest.

Gilbert was a smart call-up by the Blackhawks. He’s their best defensive-defenseman in the minors and deserves a longer look in the NHL after a strong preseason. Gilbert is also waiver exempt, so once Murphy is healthy, the Blackhawks can safely send him back to Rockford if they so choose.

Coach Jeremy Colliton did not say what defensive pairings he will roll with now that Murphy is out. The Blackhawks currently have seven active defensemen: Calvin de Haan, Dennis Gilbert, Erik Gustafsson, Duncan Keith, Slater Koekkoek, Olli Maatta, and Brent Seabrook.

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