The Chicago Blackhawks released goaltender Jake Hildebrand from his tryout contract, the team announced. The move came right after the end of the Hawks’ 1-0 loss to the Penguins in preseason action on Friday night.
Hildebrand, 23, became an undrafted free agent over the summer after completing his four-year career at Michigan State University. He agreed to a one-year AHL contract with the Rockford IceHogs in June, then got a tryout offer from the Blackhawks to join the team this fall.
As a junior at Michigan State, Hildebrand was one of the top goaltenders in the nation, posting a .930 save percentage and 2.18 goals against average over 35 games. He earned several honors such as Big Ten Best Goaltender, Big Ten Player of the Year and NCAA (West) First All-American Team, and looked like a potential breakout player.
Hildebrand’s senior year with the Spartans was rough, though, as his save percentage dropped to .904 and his GAA rose to 3.12. He also had mixed results with the ECHL’s Allen Americans in a brief stint after finishing his time at MSU. That didn’t stop the IceHogs and Hawks from giving him fliers recently.
The goaltender will now report to the IceHogs, where he still has an AHL deal covering the 2016-17 season.
Chicago has four goaltenders remaining in training camp: Corey Crawford, Scott Darling, Mac Carruth and Lars Johansson. Carruth and Johansson split time in the game against Pittsburgh on Friday.