This is the fifth installment in Second City Hockey’s six-part position group preview on the Blackhawks and their AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs. This article focuses on AHL goaltenders.
The IceHogs’ goaltending situation for this season isn’t what everyone expected to see when last season ended.
Anton Forsberg, who was a restricted free agent, was traded in June to the Hurricanes. Collin Delia is back after signing a three-year extension. Kevin Lankinen returns after a breakout performance at the World Championship to win gold with an underwhelming Finland team.
The biggest surprise among the bunch is Delia, who made a case for himself to be Corey Crawford’s backup before potentially transitioning to the No. 1 role for the 2020-21 season. But Chicago general manager Stan Bowman signed Vezina Trophy finalist Robin Lehner to a one-year contract, forcing Delia back to the AHL.
Lankinen started last season in the ECHL and worked his way into the AHL, where he played well but still needs to work on depth management and post integration. He popped up on everyone’s radar at Worlds, where he showed his good puck tracking and recovery speed against some NHL-caliber competition. He’s set to be a restricted free agent after this season.
Matt Tomkins is potentially back in the fold after serving as the Indy Fuel’s starter last season in the ECHL. The 2012 seventh-rounder had a 4.04 goals-against average and .871 save percentage in eight AHL games during the 2017-18 season, but did not see time with Rockford last season. He’s on an AHL contract and does not appear to be in the organization’s future plans with prospect Alexis Gravel expected to sign next spring after his QMJHL season ends.
- 3.65 GAA, .908 SV% in 16GP (NHL)
- 2.48 GAA, .922 SV% in 26GP (AHL)
- 1.50 GAA, .942 SV% in 8GP (Worlds)
- 2.50 GAA, .910 SV% in 19GP (AHL)
- 3.18 GAA, .893 SV% in 6GP (ECHL)
- 3.04 GAA, .905 SV% in 54 GP (ECHL)