With the Hossa/Hinostroza/Oesterle trade that occurred on Thursday afternoon, the Blackhawks were able to free up some cap space. The Blackhawks currently have $9,300,705 in cap space, and one of the ways they could use it would be to acquire a forward like Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes or Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens.
One trade piece of a potential trade could be Russian goalie Ivan Nalimov, who has said that he wants to be traded to have an opportunity in the NHL somewhere else, as the Blackhawks don’t seem too interested in promoting Nalimov.
Nalimov had a .938 save percentage and a 2.14 goals against average last season in 23 regular season games (there are 56 games in a KHL season). In three playoff games, however, he only had a .836 save percentage on 55 shots, losing two out of the three games. His entire professional career has taken place in the KHL.
The 23-year-old Russian (who will turn 24 on August 12th) doesn’t feel he has much of an opportunity with the Blackhawks. This should be concerning for the Blackhawks considering the inconsistency of the Blackhawks’ backup goaltending last year, especially after Crawford missed the entire second half of the season (Crawford played in only 28 games last year).
Cam Ward is older and inconsistent, although we will have to see if he will do better in a more reduced role. Forsberg, Berube, and Glass showed that they were extremely inconsistent. Colin Delia only played in two NHL games, one in which he got injured in, allowing the goat (AKA Scott Foster) to come in and shut the door on Delia’s only NHL win.
Nalimov had a solid season last year in the KHL, although he played in only half of the games. In all honesty, Nalimov should be kept over Forsberg and Berube (who are in the last year of their contracts), as well as Jeff Glass in the Blackhawks’ goaltender depth chart.
It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to trade Nalimov, but if last year proved anything, it’s this: you have to make sure that your team has solid backup goaltending. In split time, none of the backups were able to prove themselves of being worthy of being on an NHL roster.
Ivan Nalimov was drafted by the Blackhawks at 179th overall (the sixth round) in the 2014 draft.