The Chicago Blackhawks have decided that Matt Tomkins has done enough this season to deserve an NHL deal. The team has agreed to terms with the minor league goaltender on a two-year, two-way contract that carries an average annual value of $700K. The deal starts this season, but Tomkins will remain in the minor leagues with the Rockford IceHogs for the time being.
The 25-year old netminder was originally drafted by the Blackhawks back in 2012 but spent a year in the AJHL and then four more at Ohio State University. When he was finished college, the team signed him to a minor league deal and he has spent the last two and a half seasons splitting time between the ECHL’s Indy Fuel and Rockford. He has a .916 save percentage in nine appearances this season, but was also part of the victorious Team Canada at the Spengler Cup.
A deal like this gives the Blackhawks another goaltender to recall in emergency situations, an important step given that only he and Colin Delia are now signed through the 2020-21 season. Robin Lehner and Corey Crawford are both scheduled to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the year, while Kevin Lankinen will be an RFA.