Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Blackhawks Goaltender Prospect Sets IceHogs Record, Eyeing Possible NHL Shot

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Since the Blackhawks embarked on a complete rebuild almost two years ago, one of the main focuses has been the development of the goaltender room. At the NHL level, Chicago has found itself in a bit of a tricky spot – while starter Petr Mrazek has been outstanding, he’s 32 years old and likely won’t be with the team after his two-year extension runs out in 2026.

Meanwhile, without any semblance of depth behind Mrazek, the Blackhawks have given 24-year-old netminder Arvid Soderblom an extended look at the NHL level. He’s played in 26 of Chicago’s 69 games (not including a projected start Thursday night), logging a .877 save percentage and 4.02 GAA. Soderblom has every excuse in the book, as his development still has a long way to go and he’s playing behind a defensive unit that hasn’t given him much help. Still, it’s clear the door is open for the Blackhawks’ starting goalie spot of the future.

Despite the current uncertainty at the NHL level, there’s no question the pipeline is flooded with developing talent. 2020 second-round pick Drew Commesso has been excellent in the AHL this year, and while he’s still just 21 years old with plenty of room to grow, he’s not far from a promotion. Adam Gajan, who was drafted last year by the Blackhawks at 35th overall, has also shown promise, although he won’t be available until at least 2025.

Though he’s often overshadowed by the other names in the Blackhawks’ prospect pool of netminders, Jaxson Stauber has been busy setting IceHogs records and making his case for serious consideration for an NHL role.

With a win Wednesday night, Stauber is now the franchise record holder for most consecutive wins by a goalie with eight. Rockford as a whole has won 10 of its last 11 in large part because of the consistent play of their 24-year-old goaltender. Over the course of the season, he’s worked to a solid .896 save percentage and 3.05 GAA.

Stauber will remain with the IceHogs through the rest of their season, as they have a shot at a good playoff run with the third-most points in the Central Division. When next year’s training camp rolls around, though, Stauber has at least played his way into a longer look at a potential NHL spot. After all, he was fairly impressive in six games with the Blackhawks last year, sporting a .911 save percentage. When compared to Soderblom’s numbers from this year, Stauber now could make a case as a better long-term option in Chicago.

The goaltending prospect’s unprecedented success could be just what he needs to be considered for an NHL spot. With the Blackhawks’ backup role wide open due to Soderblom’s current struggles, they may have a decision on their hands this fall.

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Hehateme30
Mar 21, 2024 7:39 pm

I guess they’re playing Soderblom for tank position. That’s all. I lobbied about a month or so ago for Stauber.

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