How The Chicago Blackhawks Fix Arvid Soderblom

Columbus Blue Jackets v Chicago Blackhawks
Columbus Blue Jackets v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Goaltender Arvid Soderblom has been anything but a Vezina candidate this year. Boasting a 6-30-3 career NHL record, his .140 career win percentage is the worst among starters with a minimum 40 games played, not to mention his .884 save percentage. One of his more recent performances against a league bottom-feeder in the Blue Jackets is just another blemish on his awful NHL
career thus far.

While he has seen some success as of late against the Coyotes have proven fruitful for him and the team in terms of getting a win, that really doesn’t change the overall outlook of his season thus far as Arizona has lost 14 of their last 17 games since the NHL All-star break.     

While his NHL stats have been abysmal, he’s seen a lot of success in Rockford with the IceHogs. In 71 games played he has boasted a 0.912 save percentage to go with 36 wins. These stats are comparable to other highly touted young goaltenders in the league such as Yaroslav Askarov, Spencer Knight, and Jesper Wallstedt. 

Developing a goaltender takes time, care, and a little bit of luck, hence why we see goalies coming out of seemingly nowhere and lighting the league on fire. At this point in his career, maybe Soderblom simply isn’t ready for the big leagues. Perhaps a move back to the AHL would suit Soderblom well. 

The goaltending position relies so heavily on the mental aspect of the game and the overall confidence of the player. A return to easier competition could provide the boost he needs to regain some of his confidence. Similar to the thought process with sending Lukas Reichel down, the same applies to the Soderblom situation. While Reichel has found his game down in Rockford, so too could Soderblom.

To compare him to other young goalie prospects yet again, there’s a reason they see so much time in the AHL before making the jump to the NHL squad. Being able to add easy wins to a goaltender’s psyche can do wonders for them as an evolving player. This very reason is why goalies like Askarov and Wallstedt, who were taken in the 2020 and 2021 draft respectively, still have seen very little NHL

A move like this would be relatively easy to make. While prospect Drew Commesso still needs
his time in Rockford, Jaxson Stauber, who has already proven himself reliable at the NHL level, would be an easy call-up for the Blackhawks. 

In his small sample size at the NHL level, he has posted a 5-1-0 record with a 0.911 save percentage and 2.81 goals against average. Although the Blackhawks aren’t in the business of winning in their current status as a contender, Stauber could provide a much-needed boost to the locker room.

Moving Soderblom down would still be beneficial to both the major and minor league teams in the grand scheme of things. The Blackhawks would get some much-needed goaltending help to at least keep games competitive for some morale boosting, and the IceHogs would still be able to give Commesso proper playing time. 

At this point, playing Soderblom is almost a non-option, and a move down to Rockford is necessary in the development of him as a goaltender and the team's winning culture going forward.