Chicago Blackhawks’ Collin Delia A Rare And Surprising Call-Up
By Sean Fitzgerald
When Collin Delia was called up by the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, it completed a rapid road to the NHL for this goaltender
The Chicago Blackhawks made another roster move Wednesday when they recalled Rockford IceHogs goalie Collin Delia. Delia is unbeaten in his last nine games with the ‘Hogs, while Jean-Francois Berube is 2-5-1 in his last eight with the Blackhawks. Berube was assigned to the IceHogs in a corresponding move.
Delia is a great story this season. He was an undrafted free agent who played college hockey at Merrimack College.
Delia was invited to the Blackhawks’ prospect camp for several years before the ‘Hawks signed him to a contract. Delia’s rise to the NHL is rare considering he has appeared in every level of the Blackhawks organization in one season. He is also the first player since the Blackhawks began their affiliation with the Indy Fuel of the ECHL in 2014-15 to make the NHL level.
In recent years, the NHL has been seeing goalies who spent time in the ECHL make NHL teams at some point in their career. The Blackhawks have employed two goalies from the ECHL of recent note before Delia.
Scott Darling played in the ECHL for 38 games between three teams before eventually making it the NHL level. This season, fellow IceHogs and Blackhawks goalie Jeff Glass made the NHL after playing in the ECHL. Glass played 39 games with the Charlotte Checkers of the ECHL from 2005-06.
So while other goalies who competed for Blackhawks have played in the ECHL at some point during their career, making it to the NHL in one’s first pro season is nearly impossible.
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Delia’s work ethic pays off
Delia put in a lot of work to garner this promotion on the NHL level. Blackhawks developmental goaltending coach Peter Aubry stated that “Delia had an even keel and was very determined. He has had his ups and downs”. Aubry said Delia is very talented and has improved puck tracking immensely.
Delia practiced with both the Indy Fuel and the Rockford IceHogs much of this season. He has worked closely with Aubry since joining the Blackhawks organization.
Cat Silverman of The Athletic broke down Delia’s play of March 9. She commented on how much he has improved since the start of this season.
Silverman sums up her article by praising Delia’s work ethic:
"For an undrafted player out of Southern California, though, Delia certainly has shown that he’s got what it takes to battle out for the top spots in the prospect depth chart.Credit to Aubry’s coaching, but plenty of credit to Delia, as well. It’s been a year of uncertainty in net, and he’s handled it quite well."
In a season where the ‘Hawks’ goaltending has looked awful at times, it is good to see a goalie progressing and earning his chance to play in the NHL. Delia is now the 10th Blackhawks player to make his NHL debut this season.
Next: Blackhawks' Delia Called Up For Late-Year Stint
Delia is expected to start Friday against Colorado. I know we can expect a lot of hard work from Delia in that start.