Tuesday: Forsberg has cleared waivers, and will be assigned to the Rockford IceHogs. Luke Johnson will be recalled in his place. Chicago will get to keep their goaltending depth for now, as Crawford looks to continue his triumphant return to the ice.
Forsberg, 25, was acquired as part of the return for Artemi Panarin in the summer of 2017, and ended up playing 35 games with the Blackhawks last season. His .908 save percentage in those games actually went down as the best NHL season of his career, but that’s not saying much given he’d only played ten games while with the Columbus Blue Jackets. This year, Forsberg hasn’t been used at all after dropping down to third on the depth chart following the free agent signing of Cam Ward. Despite Ward’s ineffectiveness so far, his experience and price tag will keep him in the NHL for now. The veteran goaltender was signed for $3MM, and admitting that mistake by putting Ward on waivers this early never seemed like a possibility.
That means it had to be Forsberg, who now very well could end up on another team around the NHL. Though the claiming club would have to keep him on the NHL roster, there are several situations where they might believe he’s an upgrade over their incumbent backup. 24 NHL goaltenders have a save percentage under .900 so far this season, including backups like Mike Condon, Calvin Pickard, Malcolm Subban, Pheonix Copley, Alex Stalock and Antti Niemi. While none of those situations scream for a waiver claim, teams may be willing to take a chance on the seventh-round draft pick. Forsberg does have a lengthy history of success in the minor leagues, and has the size teams look for in NHL goaltenders.