Chicago Blackhawks’ Anton Forsberg Is A Player To Watch
By Sean Fitzgerald
A smaller piece of the deal to bring Brandon Saad back, Anton Forsberg appears to be a player worth watching for the Chicago Blackhawks
The Chicago Blackhawks held their annual training camp scrimmage on Saturday. I had the pleasure of attending the scrimmage and seeing firsthand some of the next Blackhawks in action.
While all eyes will be fixed on the new line of Nick Schmaltz, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp, I was watching goaltender Anton Forsberg. Forsberg was brought in via trade from the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Brandon Saad deal. While Forsberg has been penciled in as the backup to Corey Crawford, there still much for him to prove.
Forsberg did not disappoint Blackhawks fans at the scrimmage. His performance was solid, to my untrained eye, but can he play well at the NHL level? He has been very good in the AHL for the Cleveland/Lake Erie Monsters.
Scouts believe the Monsters would not have won the 2016 Calder Cup without Forsberg. With that being said, can his AHL success translate to the NHL? The Blackhawks’ coaching staff does have a track record of making backups into starters in the NHL. Examples would be Antti Raanta and Scott Darling.
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Scouting Forsberg’s immediate future
Forsberg is going to have big shoes to fill as the backup goalie. Fan favorite Darling was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes and made the starter. If history shows us anything, the ’Hawks’ backup goalie is needed for stretches of games during the season.
Darling appeared in 29 games in 2015-16 and 32 games in 2016-17. Darling had a .923/2.37 slashline during his tenure. It stands to reason that Forsberg will be needed for 25 games and desired to play close to Darling’s level next season.
While Forsberg has been penciled in as the backup goalie, the ’Hawks also brought in other candidates. The ’Hawks signed Jean-Francois Berube to a two-year contract this offseason. He does have NHL experience. He started with the New York Islanders last season, going 7-3-2 with a .889/3.42 slashline. For his career, he has appeared in 21 NHL games.
The ’Hawks also have Jeff Glass in the organization. Glass made the save of the day in the training camp scrimmage Saturday.
While Glass had a great save, he is in the organization for depth purposes. The ’Hawks also signed Colin Delia, and the Rockford IceHogs signed Matt Tompkins. Delia figures to be at Rockford all season, while Tompkins will split time between Rockford and the Indy Fuel.
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Berube appears to be the only real challenger to Forsberg for the NHL backup job. Training camp continues this week, which should shed more light on the situation.