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Blackhawks place Duncan Keith on long-term injured reserve

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Head coach Joel Quenneville says he doesn't expect the Hawks to take advantage of the freed up salary cap space or call up another defenseman.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks have placed defenseman Duncan Keith on long-term injured reserve Wednesday, one day after he underwent successful surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee, the team announced.

Keith is expected to miss an estimated four to six weeks. The move to place him on LTIR gives the Blackhawks an additional $5.54 million in salary cap relief. He will have to miss 10 games and 24 days due to being placed on LTIR. Coach Joel Quenneville said he doesn't expect the team will look to the outside for temporary help or call up another defenseman right now.

So for now, they’ll go with the defensemen and pairings that they have. Brent Seabrook and Viktor Svedberg remained together at Wednesday’s practice. Niklas Hjalmarsson was with Trevor van Riemsdyk and Trevor Daley was with David Rundblad.

A six-week timetable ends Dec. 1 - an 18-game stretch without Keith for the Hawks, which includes 14 games against Western Conference teams highlighted by their annual West Coast circus trip. The Hawks play Central Division foes Minnesota (Oct. 30 and Dec. 1) and St. Louis (Nov. 4 and Nov. 14) twice and Winnipeg on Oct. 29 during that 18-game swing.

The Hawks haven't specified how or when Keith suffered the injury. He skated 27 shifts and 25:34 of ice time in Saturday's 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Keith has two assists in six games this season while leading the Hawks in average ice time at 24:21 per game. Since his NHL debut in 2005, Keith has never missed more than eight games in a season. He has 75 goals and 342 assists in 772 regular-season games.

The Hawks host the Florida Panthers on Thursday at the United Center.