The Chicago Blackhawks’ backup goaltending duo of Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass has been OK, but with Corey Crawford out long-term, the Blackhawks may need to explore other options
With goaltender Corey Crawford being ruled out indefinitely, the Chicago Blackhawks must consider their options at goalie. In my opinion, they have two options: trade for a rental goalie or stand pat with what they currently have. In this post, we assess the two major options.
There are three names that have been floated out there as popular rental options.
Option 1: Petr Mrazek. The 25-year-old Red Wings goalie is scuffling this year. He has a .845/3.43 slashline in 13 games. He might be in need of a change of scenery to rediscover his game. He holds a career .911/2.62 slashline.
Option 2: Robin Lehner. The Buffalo Sabres will be moving on from this netminder after his one-year deal expires at the end of this season, so why not give him an early fresh start someplace else? Lehner is having an a below-average season with a .910/2.94 slashline, but it may be a product of his system. The Sabres are not every good, and he has the most losses in the NHL.
Option 3: Antti Raanta. Could a reunion with the ‘Hawks be in the cards? Raanta is the starting goalie for the last-place Arizona Coyotes. He has appeared in 24 games. His slashline is .915/2.68.
Among other names mentioned has been Jaroslav Halak, who is splitting time in New York with the Islanders.
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I believe the ‘Hawks will not trade for any of these goaltenders. Mrazek is up and down, Lehner has an injury history and Raanta left on bad terms via a 2015 trade. The underlying issue is that the trade will cost the ‘Hawks either a prospect or a draft pick. The ‘Hawks currently are down a second-rounder and a fourth-rounder in 2018. I highly doubt a draft pick next season would be made available by the Blackhawks.
In terms of tradeable assets, the ‘Hawks will not part with any prospects and don’t really have any appealing change-of-scenery players.
Instead of trading for a rental goalie, the ‘Hawks could stand pat and ride with Forsberg, Glass and Jean-Francois Berube. None of these goalies cost the ‘Hawks anything because they are already in the organization.
Thus far, here are the numbers the goalies have compiled. Forsberg has a .911/2.92 slashline in 15 NHL games, while Glass has a .910/3.18 mark in six NHL games. Berube has appeared in one NHL game this season, with disastrous results. He has appeared in 21 NHL games with a .900/3.11 career slashline. While the numbers are below league average, they are better than those of the trade options this season.
So in my opinion, the Blackhawks should stand pat with the goalies they already have. They also should give the majority of the remaining starts to Forsberg. While Glass is a great story, he does not have a long-term future in the NHL with the ‘Hawks. Forsberg was brought into the organization to the backup to Crawford for the foreseeable future. I would even bring up Berube and get him some more NHL seasoning.
The ‘Hawks are currently battling for the last playoff spot. If they start to fall out of the chase, what is the harm in playing Forsberg?