With Corey Crawford’s future still in doubt after some injury troubles last season, the Chicago Blackhawks called up goaltending prospect Collin Delia to help bolster the lineup between the pipes. While Delia only played in two NHL games, his outstanding play and growth during the AHL season is why he made this year’s Top 25 Under 25.
Birth date: June 20, 1994 (age 24)
Acquired via: Free Agency (Undrafted)
Most recent stop: Rockford IceHogs — AHL
Size: 6’2 , 200 pounds
Contract: 2 years - $1.85 million
Last year’s ranking: Unranked
One would typically not expect an undrafted free-agent to immediately make an impact in the lineup in his first season with an organization, but Delia made his presence known in Rockford after jumping back and forth between the IceHogs and the ECHL’s Indy Fuel early last season. Once Delia found a spot in the Rockford startling lineup, he turned his game around.
***Our very own Dave Melton wrote about Delia’s journey last season***
Gustav Forsling with the move and Collin Delia with the save pic.twitter.com/K4JAQODPPa— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) April 12, 2018
With Jeff Glass moving into the Chicago starting role after it was clear Crawford would be done for the year and J-F Berube out with an injury, both Delia and Matt Tomkins were left to keep Rockford’s season alive.
DELIA!!! YOU ARE OUR HERO!!!— Rockford IceHogs (@goicehogs) April 5, 2018
Save on the shorthanded attempt preserves the lead pic.twitter.com/bFb3WCfi76
Delia would go 17-7-2 in the regular season with Rockford, with a .900 save percentage and a 2.72 goals-against average that would help Rockford earn the No. 7 seed in the Calder Cup playoffs. His play only continued to improve from there, as the IceHogs won seven consecutive playoff games on their way to the Western Conference Final. Delia finished the playoffs with a 7-3 record with a 2.34 GAA and .924 save percentage.
Dear Collin Delia,— Rockford IceHogs (@goicehogs) April 27, 2018
You are a beast.
The Ice Piggies. pic.twitter.com/OgQZruIMq6
Delia was 1-1 with the Blackhawks last season, earning a win with a 27-save performance against the Winnipeg Jets on March 29. The occasion was overshadowed by the emergency backup goalie Scott Foster, who stepped in after Delia suffered an injury in the period.
What’s next in 2018-19?
With the goalie situation in Chicago still fluctuating based on Crawford’s health, there is a good chance Delia make a run at the backup position if Cam Ward ends up being the starter (let’s not forget about Anton Forsberg either). Delia’s starting position in Rockford is a lock, but don’t be surprised if he’s in goal for the Hawks.