Friday, July 28, 2017

Blackhawks Sign Hostile Favorite
Goalie Collin Delia

The Blackhawks announced this morning that they had finalized a deal to bring former Merrimack junior goalie Collin Delia in to the Blackhawks organization and goalie fold. As one might expect, I was absolutely delighted to hear this, because I have been singing the song of Delia for about 12 months. Last summer, when he was coming off a visit to the Ducks prospect camp, he caught my goalie eye. Even though he went back to Merrimack for his Junior season, he attended Capitals camp this summer, as well, and was invited back to Blackhawks camp. Seeing a free agent two years in a row, in the same team's camp is rare. NHL organizations were taking a long hard look at this California kid, and with the house cleaning the Blackhawks performed this spring/summer another solid goalie in the pipeline is never a bad problem to have.

Ever since I saw Delia play during the prospect camp of 2016, I was intrigued with his style and very calm demeanor. He was coming off an injury plagued sophomore season, that saw his stats dip, after an impressive freshman nine game look the season before. Even though he didn't miss much time, his goals against went up by over a goal a game and his save percentage went down by .050, as a result. Just watching Delia play, though, it was hard to not be impressed. He has decent size at 6'2" and roughly 200lbs, but he's no physical giant like Scott Darling. The first thing that really caught my eye, though, was his smooth fluid movement sliding side to side. Look, it's not easy to master sliding side to side on ice without some little imperfections, but Delia looked to have his weight distribution locked in. He makes it look so simple, which takes exceptional bio-mechanics to accomplish. Not only does he move very smooth, but his natural reflexes were on display both this year and last, more specifically, his glove hand. Delia has a low compact stance, which allows him to explode in any direction quick and efficiently, and he's also very flexible. He came back this summer healthier, and better overall, after getting back on track with a very respectable 2.15 goals against average and .927 save percentage, while being named Hockey East Third Team All-Star and the league’s Stop It Goaltending Champion. It is easy to see why Blackhawks goalie specialists Jimmy Waite, and Peter Aubry were licking their lips. He came into prospect camp and stole the spotlight from camp vet and former draft pick Matt Tomkins, which led GM Stan Bowman to personally pull Delia aside to acknowledge his great week at camp.

With Friday's signing, the Blackhawks now have six goalies under their umbrella in one fashion or another. Delia will, most likely, attend the Traverse City Rookie tournament with the Blackhawks rookies, later this summer. He will also attend the pro training camp in September, when all but Corey Crawford's starting job could be up for grabs. Goalie Matt Tomkins signed an AHL deal just before prospect camp, but with JF Berube and Jeff Glass signed to NHL deals, Tomkins looks to be all but Indy bound. This leaves Delia on the cusp of Rockford and Indy. Anything can happen, and given Jeff Glass' age, Delia could push for a backup spot in Rockford with strong training camps.

Peripherally, I am still not sold on Anton Forsberg as Crawford's backup, and JF Berube could surprise people, as well. Most likely, the depth will play out with Crawford/Forsberg in Chicago, with Berube/Glass in Rockford and Delia/Tomkins in Indy. Don't be surprised of you see Berube and/or Delia make some waves and force the Blackhawks to make some more complicated decisions, though.

Here are some videos I took last week, at prospect camp, of Delia and his stats:

Goalie Collin Delia finishes with a first big glove save #Blackhawks @collindelia @fire_cycle

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Goalie Collin Delia finishes with a second big glove save #Blackhawks @collindelia @fire_cycle

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Collin Delia with the windmill glove. #Blackhawks @collindelia @fire_cycle

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Delia makes a nice save with the blocker. #Blackhawks

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