Of the three spots on the ice, goaltenders are the ones that often take the most time to develop. The Blackhawks have a number of prospects in the system–but also have a couple who may very well be graduating to more full-time status in Chicago.
Here’s a run down of who they, where they’re at, and a projected timeline of when they potentially be with the big club.
Arvid Soderblom and Jaxon Stauber
Acquired: Both Undrafted Free Agents
Category: Cusp of Graduation
Both Soderblom and Stauber have spent time in Chicago, with the former having 18 games and the latter with six games. Both shuffled to and from Rockford and Chicago last season and could see similar movement this season as well.
Concerns about the mental toll? Rockford IceHogs head coach Anders Sorensen answered that concern.
Quotable (Sorensen): “Everybody reacts differently when they’re sent down or called up, so it’s just a matter of trying to massage and handle those scenarios differently. Arvid’s different from Jaxson, right? They’re all different. So I think it’s just a matter of getting to the know the person and everybody has their own path and making sure they understand that and don’t look at the next guy to you, just focus on what you can control. Those are the biggest things we try to talk to them about.”
Acquired: Drafted 2020 2nd Round (46th overall)
Category: Top-End Prospect
Commesso will start his professional career this season with the IceHogs and is the top prospect in the system. CHN has written at length about him, and there’s a high chance that he’s in Chicago within the next few years. Commesso’s workout regimen is impressive while general manager Kyle Davidson believes he was ready to make that jump to Rockford. Lauded for his work ethic, Commesso may be another in a great line of prospects for Chicago’s future run at contention.
Quotable (Davidson): “I’m expecting a good positive year from him. After a nice career at BU, he was ready to make the jump. Glad he felt the same in that, and so again, look for him to continue his positive strides here.”
Acquired: Drafted 2023 2nd Round (35th overall)
Category: Needs Time to Develop
Gajan strapped the Czechia team onto his back during the World Juniors and certainly opened some eyes–including the Blackhawks. It’s over 10 picks higher than Stan Bowman took Commesso three seasons earlier and certainly puts him on the radar as a true contender for a starting role down the road. He’ll take his time, though. He’ll first suit up for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL and then make his way to the University of Minnesota-Duluth a season later. Chicago wants to do this right and they play on taking time with his development.
Quotable (Davidson): “We loved his athleticism, the ability to play the puck. Big game player. He was excellent everywhere he played this year.”
Acquired: Drafted 2019 6th Round (167th overall)
Category: Still Developing
Basse spent his first year at St. Cloud State and still has his rights with Chicago as he goes into his senior campaign. Basse posted an 11-5-2 record in 19 appearances with a .911 save percentage. He also took part in the Blackhawks development camp.
Quotable (Via Rink Live from St. Cloud State coach Brett Larson): “He’s come in here with a fresh slate and attacked the opportunity for playing time,” Larson said. “He’s learned that compete here every day, including the goalies. I’ve seen more of a consistent compete level out of him as the season has gone on.”