When players like Artemi Panarin and Brandon Saad are involved in a trade, it’s easy to forget about any other pieces involved in the deal. But Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman was able to solve his backup goalie problem in the deal, acquiring 24-year-old Anton Forsberg. With no other legitimate contenders in the organization, it appears that Forsberg is slated to be the backup to Corey Crawford this season.
Birth date: Nov. 27, 1992
Acquired via: Trade with Columbus Blue Jackets (June 23, 2017)
Most recent stop: Cleveland Monsters (AHL)
Size: 6’3, 192 pounds
Contract: Two years, $750,000 cap hit
A seventh-round pick of the blue Jackets in the 2011 NHL Draft, Forsberg didn’t make his debut in North America until the 2013-14 season, when he joined the AHL’s Springfield Falcons. By the 2015-16 season, he was turning heads with a dazzling season that ended with the Lake Erie Monsters capturing the AHL’s Calder Cup. In the regular season, Forsberg posted a 23-10-5 record with a 2.40 GAA, but he was lights out in the postseason. In the 10 games he played, Lake Erie won nine of them, as Forsberg had a 1.34 GAA and .949 save percentage.
Forsberg was back in the AHL for the 2016-17 season, improving upon his regular season figures with a 2.28 GAA and a .926 save percentage, although that team failed to qualify for the postseason. Over the last three seasons, Forsberg has appeared in a total of 10 NHL games.
As a 6’3 goalie, Forsberg has adequate size to be an NHL goalie. And if you catch one of Forsberg’s highlight reels, you’ll see a goalie who has enough agility to move post-to-post when needed, something that doesn’t come with every 6’3 goalie.
What’s next in 2017-18?
Three days after the trade that brought him to the Blackhawks, Forsberg signed a two-year, $1.5 million contract in Chicago. As mentioned in the opening of this article, there really aren’t any other goaltenders in the organization who will challenge Forsberg for the backup spot behind Corey Crawford. Wouter Peeters could be the Hawks’ goalie of the future, but he’s just 19 years old and still far away from the NHL level.
All signs point to Forsberg being the Hawks’ No. 2 goalie in the upcoming season. In his limited NHL time, Forsberg’s play wasn’t impressive, but it’s easy to chalk that up to inexperience. This figures to be the first chance for Forsberg to get an extended stay at the NHL level, and it’d be great to see him thrive in that setting, because Crawford is 33 years old, and it wouldn’t hurt to have more than just one goalie in the organization as a potential future replacement for Crow.