Jaxson Stauber Made Blackhawks History on Friday Night
When the Blackhawks announced they had signed goaltender Jaxson Stauber last year, it didn’t make many waves. Most people figured he was a low-cost depth defenseman to help the system until Drew Commesso arrived, especially if the plan was for Arvid Söderblom to be part of the NHL mix.
Stauber, the undrafted son of former NHL netminder Robb Stauber, had just finished a successful second season at Providence College. He was a Mike Richter Award Finalist after a strong junior year, but honestly wasn’t on many people’s radar.
When the “who?” goaltender made Blackhawks history in his first home start on Friday night, it showed the world that he can play — and win. In fact, winning is the only thing he’s done in the NHL.
Stauber picked up the overtime win against the Arizona Coyotes, making him the first goaltender in the history of the Chicago Blackhawks to win his first three appearances.
Read that again. The first in the history of the Chicago Blackhawks to do something doesn’t come around very often. And it certainly wasn’t something many people anticipated in a season filled with planned struggles.
When the Blackhawks acquired veteran Petr Mrazek and signed veteran Alex Stalock this summer, and with Söderblom showing well last year in limited action (and again in the preseason), Stauber was an afterthought. He was the No. 4 goalie in the organization. And lots of people are still counting the days until Commesso can sign.
Heck, lots of people are still scratching their heads about why Stauber was still in the NHL instead of Söderblom.
But it’s Stauber whose name is now in the record books. He’s been a lot of fun to watch, he competes, and he’s earning his time at the NHL level while the older guys have been injured. And, maybe most importantly, he’s validating the confidence of general manager Kyle Davidson when he said the following in the team’s release announcing his two-year contract almost one year ago:
“Building off a sophomore season in which he was named one of college hockey’s best goalies, the sustained success he displayed during his junior year was notable as we believe that will continue with our coaching. His skill and competitiveness will add to the already strong crop of goalies we have in the system.”
So stick taps to Stauber for a good showing last night. He is now the first to do something good in a season that hasn’t made many signature moments from the team around him. And that’s pretty special.