It's still early in the 2018 - 2019 NHL regular season but teams have already had a chance to get a look at what they've got in terms of their roster and some have already been able to identify where in theory they would want to shore up their roster. For the teams who feel that they need additional depth in net they may get a rare opportunity early in the season to acquire a veteran backup goaltender due to a log ham that has been created in one organization's net.
The Chicago Blackhawks, and more specifically general manager Stan Bowman, were forced to acquire an additional goaltender during the offseason due to the long term injury that has kept Blackhawks star goalie Corey Crawford out of action for the better part of a full year. Bowman went out and signed veteran goaltender Cam Ward to a one year, $3 million deal and although the move was necessary it now leaves Chicago with a new problem that they must deal with. Based on the progress that Crawford has made in recent days it now seems fair to suggest that it will only be a few short weeks at the most before he makes his long awaited return to action, and that will leave the Blackhawks with one too many goalies on the roster.
While you might think that the obvious choice would be to orchestrate a trade for Cam Ward the Blackhawks and Stan Bowman may not have the opportunity to do so due to the nature of Ward's contract. In order to bring Ward over to the Blackhawks in the first place Bowman gave Ward a full no movement clause and given that Ward negotiated this as part of his deal I don't see him waiving it to go somewhere else. That would leave veteran backup goaltender Anton Forsberg as the odd man out and it seems highly probable that Bowman will begin looking for trade options the moment that he believes Crawford is nearing a return.
Forsberg may actually prove to be a more valuable trading chip at this stage given that Ward is already 34 years of age, given Ward's struggles so far this season, and perhaps most important of all given the fact that Forsberg only makes $750,000 on his current deal. Forsberg's cap hit is extremely manageable and just about every team in the NHL that feels the need for some goaltending depth would be able to accommodate his contract and even if they couldn't it would be relatively easy to send another player earning the league minimum back the other way to Chicago in a trade.
At 25 years old Forsberg still has plenty of upside although his 35 game performance last season after Crawford went down to injury left a lot to be desired. In his defense Forsberg was thrust into a starter's schedule for the first time in his career and having the experience under his belt now could make him much more prepared moving forward. Even if Bowman didn't want to trade Forsberg he would have to be the goalie that gets waived, given Cam Ward's no movement clause, and that would simply result in the Blackhawks risking losing him for nothing.
It seems very likely that Forsberg will be traded sooner rather than later.
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