Is Alexander Salak Chicago’s Backup Goalie?

With a strong performance against many of Detroit’s regulars, Alexander Salak may have officially stamped his name on the depth chart.

In Chicago’s shootout loss at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday, Salak stopped 30 of 33 shots in 65 minutes of action. He was facing names like Zetterberg, Franzen, Miller, Filppula, Bertuzzi, Abdelkader, and Lidstrom; hardly the group of soon-to-be-IceHogs that Chicago sent out in front of him.

Salak’s last two preseason appearances, against Pittsburgh and Detroit, have see him allow only three goals against 41 shots (a .927 save percentage) in over 95 minutes of hockey.

Certainly the coaching staff will give Ray Emery a chance to earn more of a look. But what we’ve seen from Salak in his last two games could (should) be enough for him to be the man giving Corey Crawford a break during the 2011-12 season.

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4 Responses to Is Alexander Salak Chicago’s Backup Goalie?

  1. As much as I’ve liked what Salak has shown so far he looks like he’s ready to be CC’s backup; however, I’m wondering if that’s the best move for him to continue developing? Regular ice time in Rockford will aid his development more than playing once a week or so with the big club. I honestly think his overall development would be best served with a more gradual ascent. I say start with Emery and see what he does. If he struggles then consider moving Salak up when it’s deemed necessary. If Emery proves to be solid that also gives Salak regular playing minutes and would be a better all around scenario longer term for the kid.

  2. John says:

    Greg … for what it’s worth, I agree. Salak has looked good … arguably better than Emery … but I think he and the Hawks are best served by starting the season in Rockford as their #1.
    Emery has NHL experience … and an Oct 1 deadline.

  3. Tab Bamford says:

    @ John & Greg: I have to disagree with both of you. In 2009-10, Salak was 29-14 w/ a .910 sv pct in the AHL; the reason he went overseas last year was because Florida lacked room for him in the organization here, and he didn’t want to stay in the AHL for another year. He has already shown what he can do in the AHL. The idea that he needs a “more gradual ascent” makes sense ONLY if he hasn’t played in N. America before, like Kruger. But he has, and he’s played well here. Throw the idea that he needs experience out the window. If he’s ready, he’s ready and we’ll win w/ him between the pipes.

  4. Brad Stevenson says:

    I agree Tab…and he does look ready…just has to remember to keep that stick on the ice…

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