One of the feel-good stories from the Blackhawks last championship season may be returning to the organization.
According to a report from Tony Androckitis of Inside AHL Hockey, goaltender Scott Darling has agreed to terms with the Rockford IceHogs for the abbreviated 2021 AHL season. Details of the contract were not immediately available.
Darling, 32, grew up in Lemont in Chicago’s southwest suburbs and spent three seasons with the Blackhawks, including the ‘14-15 season that ended with Chicago’s third Stanley Cup title in six seasons.
The route between those two stops involved numerous hockey leagues across virtually every level that exists in the sport while overcoming issues with alcoholism and social anxiety. But Darling conquered those demons and worked his way into the Blackhawks organization, peaking with a memorable run in the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs when he relieved struggling starter Corey Crawford and posted a 3-1 record with a 2.28 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in five appearances. Darling became a popular member of that roster thanks to his local roots and moments of spontaneous generosity.
During Darling’s three seasons in Chicago, he played in 75 games with a 39-17-9 record, 2.37 GAA and .923 SV%. He was traded to Carolina in April 2017 for a third-round pick, giving Darling a shot at the No. 1 spot. It didn’t unfold as Darling planned, though, with Darling posting a 15-25-9 record, 3.20 GAA and .884 SV% in 51 games over two seasons with the Hurricanes. By the end of that second season, he was seeing more ice time with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers than he was with the Hurricanes.
Darling spent the ‘19-20 hockey season with HC Innsbruck in Austria, going 9-24 with a 3.34 GAA and .898 SV%.
With the trio of Collin Delia, Kevin Lankinen and Malcolm Subban occupying the three goalie spots at the NHL level in the Blackhawks organization, there was some ice time available in Rockford, where Matt Tomkins and Cale Morris are the other contenders for the No. 1 job. Darling will likely be in that mix when Rockford opens training camp on Monday.