Is a former goalie really returning to the Chicago Blackhawks?

Chicago Blackhawks, Scott Darling #33 (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Blackhawks, Scott Darling #33 (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Currently, there are three goalies competing for the starter position in Chicago. It’s too early for any one of them to have the lead in that sweepstakes, but how about adding a little more fuel to that fire? The other day a report was circulating on the internet that a former Blackhawks goalie would be returning to the organization, via the AHL.

In a press release from Chicago’s AHL affiliate, Scott Darling will be suiting up for the Rockford IceHogs on a professional tryout (PTO) deal. Rockford released their training camp roster today, and sure enough, Darling is on it. That’s potentially yet one more goalie in the ranks for the Chicago Blackhawks. Is this the right move?

Darling has had an unremarkable career, to say the least,  since leaving Chicago. He’s played in various leagues for numerous teams but hasn’t been able to find a forever home. What’s more, he’s posted some pretty abominable numbers everywhere he’s been. Despite all that, he’ll be making a return to Chicago via the AHL. It may be a temporary return, but Darling is once again a part of the organization in Chicago.

What makes this a little odd is that Darling hasn’t done much over the last few years, and there are already goalies signed by or assigned to the IceHogs. We’re all well aware of the competition for the net in Chicago, but in Rockford, there’s going to be a similar contest now.

The Chicago Blackhawks are giving Scott Darling a chance in Rockford, but who else is competing for the net?

Matt Tomkins was assigned to Rockford earlier this year. Additionally, Rockford has Cale Morris and Tom Aubrun on AHL deals. Adding Darling to the mix just creates a logjam that is that much bigger. Hey, there’s always room for one more, right?

While it is true that Darling has NHL experience, he never blossomed into a number one goalie. Adding him to the list of candidates for the position is a bit baffling. The organization is almost certainly concerned about depth at various positions, but six, and potentially seven goalies with the addition of Darling seems excessive.

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It would be great to see Darling re-assert himself as a quality player that had a bad spell. It would be excellent marketing for Rockford, especially when the AHL as a whole is likely going to be in such a precarious position financially.

However, the proof is in the pudding so to speak, and Darling has everything to prove at this point in his career. Whatever he accomplished in the past is what got him this AHL deal. Whether or not he still has it to be signed again as a professional player remains to be seen.