After losing Scott Darling to a tight salary cap, the Blackhawks turned to unproven Anton Forsberg who's been showing mixed signs of growth. So far this season Forsberg has played four games with the Blackhawks and has a 1-1-2 record with a 3.87 goals against average for a .902 save percentage.
The first game of Forsberg’s career in Chicago, he stopped 43 shots against a red-hot Maple Leaf’s team, who had tallied 15 goals in their previous two games. He kept the Blackhawks in it throughout the entire game and although he didn’t come away with a win, he flashed potential. Maybe Stan Bowman worked some of his Bowman magic again.
Game two was much the same. Forsberg stopped 42 shots, allowing two goals against the Edmonton Oilers. With players like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, it was an impressive showing. Unfortunately, again he wasn’t able to come away with a win. To his credit, he didn’t get an official loss for the game either.
Game three was nine days later against the Colorado Avalanche. Forsberg gave up five goals in 26 minutes and was benched in favor of Corey Crawford. The game was perplexing considering how well his first two games went. However, some of the blame can be put on the defense, who had several breakdowns leading to odd man rushes and open lanes to shoot.
Forsberg had a bit of a mixed bag in his fourth game. After allowing a couple of “WHAT THE. . .” goals in the first period, Forsberg settled in. He managed to stop all but one of the last 22 shots he faced. In the first period of the game, it seemed that Forsberg lost his net. He couldn’t seem to stay in his crease. He looked erratic, shook. The second and third period, he really settled in. He stopped 19 shots and another two in overtime, securing his first win in a Blackhawks uniform. The confident and calm Forsberg we saw in the second and third was the same goalie we saw the first two games against Toronto and Edmonton.
Forsberg’s game against Colorado may have just been a bad game from the young netminder. The first period in Carolina can be chalked up to some “jet lag” from the Colorado game. It can also in part be attributed to not playing for two weeks. Forsberg will of course continue to have his ups and downs. Once he gets more playing time under his belt, we should see more improvement.
It is also worth noting that Forsberg is only 24 years old. For a goalie that is arguably in his rookie season, there is plenty of upside. Hopefully, as we continue to watch the young goaltender progress, we’ll see the calm and confident side of him.
The excitement surrounding Anton Forsberg is palpable as of late. The sky is limit for the young goaltender. Give it five years and maybe we see a future star in the NHL, hopefully, for the Blackhawks.