News broke early Monday morning that the Chicago Blackhawks have locked down rookie goaltender Collin Delia to a three-year contract extension. A club announcement has since been made to officially confirm the transaction.
While the agreement is set to take him through the conclusion of the 2021-2022 regular season, Delia is set to earn an annual average value of $1 million over the lifetime of the brand new deal.
Delia has been great in the big leagues, splitting time with Cam Ward as the Blackhawks starting goaltender while on the other hand, Corey Crawford has missed a significant amount of time due to reoccurring concussion symptoms.
According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.ca, Delia, 24, will earn $750K in the first two years on the contract, meanwhile, in the third he will earn $1.1 million to go alongside a $400K signing bonus.
The 2018-19 season has proven to be Delia’s first real shot in the NHL after he was recalled the season prior where he appeared in only two games. In that short stint, Delia recorded a goals against average of 3.96 to go alongside a save percentage of .889.
He has clearly learned from that experience and fixed whatever problems he may have been having as this season, Delia has turned things around immensely up to this point. In 12 games, he has recorded a goals against average of 2.98 to go alongside a save percentage of .923.
Although it is a small sample size, it is clear that Delia has the potential to be a solid and reliable goaltender that can be a difference maker on the ice. He is following the recent trend of young goaltenders outperforming the veterans on the team and being rewarded for their strong play. Other goaltenders who have been in a similar situation this season include Carter Hart, Mackenzie Blackwood, Jordan Brinngmton and Adin Hill.
Delia went undrafted out of the NCAA and would later go on to sign with the Blackhawks as a 23-year-old back in July of 2017. He has since spent the past two seasons playing in the AHL for the Rockford IceHogs.
While Delia has served in 12 games as a backup goaltender to Cam Ward, he has also taken part in seventeen games in the American Hockey League where more often then not, he has performed quite well to say the least.
In 17 games for the IceHogs so far this season, Delia has recorded a GAA of 2.34 to go alongside a save percentage of .933. As for his NHL numbers up to this point, Delia has appeared in a total of 12 games, 11 of which he was drawn in as the starter. Delia has recorded six wins, two losses as well as three overtime losses.
At this time, Delia is in the last year of a two-year deal he signed in 2017 which was worth a total value of $1,850,000. His new contract is worth a total of $3,000,000 in base salary earnings.
Once this contract expires, Delia will then become an unrestricted free agent and therefore, will be available to officially hit the NHL free agent market.
In taking a look at the deal from the outside looking in, the signing appears to be fair for both parties involved as the Blackhawks are re-upping a young goaltender who has only a handful of NHL games under his belt to a very team friendly contract.
If Delia can prove he is capable of performing to the level that he has been so far, then there is no denying that the contract will look like a steal for the Chicago Blackhawks. But first, Delia will have to prove to management that he was worth the contract extension and that he has what it takes to stay with the team for the foreseeable future.
In a statement from Delia which was released just a short time later, the Rancho Cucamonga, California native said in a statement, “It’s very nice. It’s a huge vote of confidence in myself and my ability. Couldn’t be happier to do it now. At this time of the year, it feels really good. … To have an offer of a three-year contract, it’s just amazing. I was very happy and we were very pleased. Happy to spend three more years in Chicago.”
As for the thoughts of Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton, he said a brief time after the announcement, “I just think his confidence has really come out. I think his first few games in Rockford he didn’t have that as much. Probably was in him but he really believes in himself and nothing seems to rattle him, whether it’s a tough period or a bad goal or a rough stretch. In that position it’s really important. The technical and athletic ability it’s there. But I think a lot of guys I have it. It’s the extra, how do you survive when things go against you? That’s been nice to see.”
Corey Crawford, who’s under contract through the 2019-2020 season, was next to speak about Delia’s upcoming where he said in a brief statement, “Wow, that’s great. He definitely deserves it. He’s been playing really well. That’s awesome. It’s always a good day when you do something like that, I’m happy for him.”
With this deal now under wraps, it gives Chicago a solid backup option to rely on for the coming seasons while it also gives a former Calder Cup competitor the chance to battle it out for a Stanley Cup championship.