The Blackhawks will not sign goaltending prospects Alexis Gravel and Wouter Peeters to entry-level contracts before June 1 and allow their NHL rights to expire, according to Scott Powers of The Athletic.
Gravel, a 2018 sixth-round pick, was one of the best goalies in the QMJHL during the 2018-19 and helped the Halifax Mooseheads reach the President’s Cup Final and Memorial Cup Final, where they fell to Rouyn-Noranda both times. He looked to be in the Blackhawks’ future plans, but an early injury caused by a shard of glass from his terrarium slicing his foot and an inexperienced team in front of him led to a heavy workload and some struggles. He had a .893 save percentage and one shutout and did not make Canada’s World Junior Championship roster.
The decision to not sign Peeters, a 2016 third rounder, isn’t surprising. Peeters had a .899 save percentage in 23 games for Jokerit’s junior league in Finland the season after he was drafted then played for Youngstown in the USHL, but failed to stick with Lincoln the following season and went back to Europe. He bounced around from Finland, his native Belgium and England.
The Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has selected nine goalies since his first draft in 2010, with Kent Simpson, 2010 second rounder, the only one to reach the NHL. He allowed two goals in a 7-3 loss against the Maple Leafs on Dec. 14, 2013, in Toronto, in his only NHL game.
Chicago still holds the rights to Ivan Nalimov, 2014 sixth rounder, who joined the Rockford IceHogs on a professional tryout contract for a few practice days but never played in a game. He could sign with a KHL team or return to the AHL next season.
Collin Delia appears to be moving up to at least a backup role in Chicago as the top returning goalie under contract, which would open a spot for Nalimov to be the third goalie in Rockford behind Kevin Lankinen and Matt Tomkins, a 2012 seventh rounder. Rockford also signed Tom Aubrun from Division III Norwich University to a two-year AHL contract in April.
Dominic Basse, a 2019 sixth rounder, is expected to play his freshman season this fall at Colorado College with Blackhawks forward prospect and sophomore Josiah Slavin, a 2018 seventh rounder, according to Kate Shefte of The Gazette. Former Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland is the Tigers head coach.