Yesterday afternoon, the Chicago Blackhawks placed goaltenders Malcolm Subban and Collin Delia on waivers, which means we had to wait until today to learn if the two backup goalies were going to make it through waivers or be claimed by another NHL team. Fortunately, neither player was taken. And both goaltenders now head to the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL.
Collin Delia and Malcolm Subban cleared waivers. #Blackhawks
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) October 11, 2021
Subban has more NHL games under his belt than Delia, with 82 appearances across his six-year career. While he is a former first-round pick, Subban hasn’t had the NHL success that the Bruins (or any of his other teams, for that matter), would have expected from him. He has a career .899 save-percentage with a 3.02 GAA, and posted a .900 save-percentage, 3.20 GAA, and a 6-8-1 record in 16 games with the Blackhawks last season.
Delia was once being looked at as the next goalie in Chicago potentially slated to take over the net from Corey Crawford once his time with the Blackhawks came to an end. He was expected to be the backup to Crawford for the 2019-20 season after making 16 appearances with Chicago during the 2018-19 season, posting a .908 save-percentage, a 3.61 GAA, and a 6-4-3 record on one of the worst defensive teams Chicago has seen in a long time.
But then, the Blackhawks signed Robin Lehner and Delia spent the entire 2019-20 season with the IceHogs. With the emergence of Kevin Lankinen last season, Delia was held to just six appearances with the Blackhawks, going 1-3-1 with a .902 save-percentage, and a 3.59 GAA. Although he held a .924 save-percentage over his final four appearances of the season in May, after having just two starts in January.
Colliton: "We’re happy we still have them because both of them, to me, have proven they can play. But we’ll see what happens."
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) October 11, 2021
With Subban and Delia heading to Rockford, the IceHogs are now facing a bit of a log-jam in net. The Blackhawks brought in Swedish goaltender Arvid Söderblom this season and he started both preseason games for the IceHogs this past week. He was expected to get plenty of action in net at the AHL level this season. The IceHogs also have Cale Morris on their roster on an AHL contract. After a standout NCAA career, Morris made his professional debut last season with the IceHogs, making seven appearances with a .923 save-percentage, a 2.52 GAA, and a 2-3-0 record.
Adding Subban and Delia, two players who could play in the NHL if they were on another team, the IceHogs will have to figure out how to divide starts to tie Morris and Söderblom ample ice-time and progress their development, while the Blackhawks would likely want Subban and Delia to play well in the AHL to make them enticing potential trade pieces for future deals, or play well enough to maybe get called up to the NHL. We’ll see how it plays out this season, but the good news for the Chicago farm system is that the IceHogs should be a very difficult team to deal with in the AHL this season.