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Blackhawks feel comfortable with Arvid Soderblom, Petr Mrazek as NHL goalie duo

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — After re-signing Arvid Soderblom to a two-year contract last month, Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson feels generally satisfied with the team’s current goaltending unit.

As things stand now, that means Petr Mrazek and Soderblom will likely be the Hawks’ NHL duo next season, with Jaxson Stauber and Drew Commesso — the highly touted prospect the Hawks signed out of Boston College this spring — as the Rockford IceHogs’ AHL duo. Mitchell Weeks is also signed to an AHL-only contract.

“I’m not chasing another goalie,” Davidson said Thursday. “Goaltending depth is always helpful, [so] I’m not closed off to [adding more], but I feel comfortable with where we are right now.”

Mrazek is the only player in that group with more than 20 games of NHL experience, but the Hawks do believe Soderblom is ready to graduate into the NHL full-time.

The large 23-year-old Swede dealt with some adversity for the first time this past season, but he excelled down the stretch for Rockford and was once compared to Corey Crawford by Hawks goalie coach Jimmy Waite.

“We really liked what [Soderblom] did, which is why we re-signed him and we think really highly of him,” Davidson added. “He spent significant time in Rockford, so the question could be, is he just ready for that next step?

“And Arvid was playing pro [in Europe] before he came here, too, so there’s an experience base there. That probably gives him an advantage where it might be time to test out at a higher level. But we’ll let [the coaching staff] figure that out.”

The Hawks had talked to the Kings about taking on goalie Cal Petersen — who flamed out into the AHL last season while carrying a $5 million salary-cap hit — before Petersen was dealt to the Flyers earlier this week, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported.

Thus, it seems possible the Hawks do end up acquiring a goalie this offseason in a cap-dump trade or small free-agent signing — but it’s also possible they don’t.

This and that

  • Davidson particularly liked the chemistry Andreas Athanasiou developed this past season with Lukas Reichel, which influenced Athanasiou’s re-signing.
  • Contract negotiations with the Hawks’ remaining pending restricted free agents, including Philipp Kurashev, have been minimal so far and will likely remain that way until after the draft.
  • The Hawks are holding their prospect development camp, which will run June 30 to July 6, exclusively off-ice this year. That’s because top-level prospects already spend so much time on the ice year-round and the Hawks believe they can “teach them different things” in the gym.
  • Winning the draft lottery removed the Hawks from the Matvei Michkov conundrum, but they could and likely will still consider Russian prospects with some of their later picks. Davidson said the Hawks have spent time assessing those players’ “willingness to come and want to play in North America,” but he’s not apprehensive about picking Russians as a rule.

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