The Chicago Blackhawks placed goaltender Jeff Glass on waivers Wednesday, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. The move suggests that the team plans to add some other goaltender to the active roster in order to replace him.
What’s unclear now is who that goaltender will be. Does this move indicate that Corey Crawford is actually ready to return far earlier than expected? Or, more likely, is the team ready to give Jean-Francois Berube a shot given the way Glass has struggled in recent games?
Given the limited practice that Crawford has participated in since returning from his injury, it seems hard to believe he’s already prepared for game action. Berube also recently returned from an injury to make 54 saves on 58 shots in a pair of games for Rockford, so all indications are that Berube will be recalled soon.
Other teams will have 24 hours in order to decide whether to make claims on Glass, who has posted a .898 save percentage in 14 appearances with the Blackhawks this season. Most likely, he’ll go unclaimed, at which point the team will reassign to the AHL, where he started this season.
The Glass story was really fun for a little while there given he’s a 32-year-old journeyman who didn’t get to make his NHL debut until this season. Players in the locker room clearly appreciated the tough road he took to Chicago and initially things were going pretty well. But now Glass has been exposed for what he is — it’s not a coincidence he wasn’t in the NHL until this year. The Hawks are ready to try a new hand.
Berube, Glass, Anton Forsberg, whatever ... it won’t really matter in the end, though. The Blackhawks’ playoff odds are already minuscule and a lifeless offense has provided little goal support in recent games.
If anything, the Blackhawks should spend the next few months going back and forth between Forsberg and Berube to evaluate their prospects as backups for the 2018-19 season. One of them will likely be the No. 2 behind Crawford next fall, so using these next 25 games in a failed season to get a better handle on them would be a smart thing to do.