Blackhawks sign new prospect goalie from Providence, Jaxson Stauber

Stauber, who signed a two-year contract Wednesday, posted a .922 save percentage in 37 college games for Providence this season.

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Former Providence goalie Jaxson Stauber signed with the Blackhawks on Wednesday.

Former Providence goalie Jaxson Stauber signed with the Blackhawks on Wednesday.

Stew Milne/Providence Athletics

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Blackhawks now at least have two goaltenders signed for 2022-23.

Jaxson Stauber, a 22-year-old undrafted free agent out of Providence College, inked a two-year entry-level contract Wednesday. It’ll kick in next season, run through 2024 and carry a $883,750 salary-cap hit.

Stauber joins fellow 22-year-old prospect Arvid Soderblom as the two signed goalies, with Kevin Lankinen, who started Wednesday against the Ducks, and Collin Delia still pending unrestricted free agents. Stauber’s addition hardly alters the uncertainty of the goalie plan at the NHL level, but he does flesh out the organizational depth slightly.

“Restocking our prospect pool continues to be a priority for me, and agreeing to terms with Jaxson is a great step in making sure there is no drop-off in our goaltender development,” general manager Kyle Davidson said in a statement.

Stauber went 11-7-5 with a .916 save percentage last season for Providence and improved to 21-14-2 with a .921 save percentage this season. Scouting reports describe him as a 6-3 goalie who is athletic and quick but needs some refining.

“Building off a sophomore season in which he was named one of college hockey’s best goalies, the sustained success he displayed during his junior year was notable, as we believe that will continue with our coaching,” Davidson added.

Four recalls

With the trade deadline passed, the Blackhawks — and every other team — are now limited to just four more AHL call-ups the rest of the season.

There are exceptions for emergency situations due to injury, where they wouldn’t be able to field a full lineup without a recall, but that’s the basic rule. That’s why there won’t be a constant stream of prospects cycling through Chicago over the next month even as the Hawks explicitly begin rebuilding.

Plus, the Hawks want to keep Rockford’s current lineup as intact as possible for their own playoff push, which will give prospects the experience of playing in high-stakes games.

When it comes to top prospect Lukas Reichel, however, it does sound like he’ll spend some more time in Chicago before season’s end. If he plays five more games (on top of the five he already has played), it’ll burn the first year of his entry-level contract, but Davidson said Monday that factor “doesn’t really come into the equation.”

“He has been playing well down in Rockford, just continuing that development process,” Davidson said. “More exposure to the NHL, more games, is really beneficial for him. We’ll look to get him up here again at some point. When that is, I’m not totally clear on. But we’ll definitely consider it.”

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