Chicago Blackhawks: Potential Goaltenders To Shop For
By John Aubert
With starting Goaltender Corey Crawford on IR due to a concussion, the Chicago Blackhawks might have to grab some coupons and head out to the store in search of goalies who can get the job done.
With the whole Corey Crawford situation, things can get complicated for the Chicago Blackhawks. This article is in no means saying that the Blackhawks need to replace Crawford. The biggest factor to take in is his health, and based on the ten-month recovery from his previous concussion, it’s something that may need time.
Concussions are no joke, as we’ve seen them plague the NHL. If the worst case scenario becomes reality, the Blackhawks may need to shop for a goaltender to do the job while Crawford is gone.
Current starting goaltender Cam Ward played phenomenal against the Nashville Predators Tuesday night, making 30 saves and providing a .968 save percentage. He battled hard and fought well in his own crease versus a division rival.
However, Ward is also a 34 year old goalie.
Looking at the future, we’d need to resign him and negotiate contract terms that might not fit our needs. So, to the market we go!
If the Blackhawks are going to shop for goaltenders, who would be their options?
Robin Lehner-New York Islanders
Robin Lehner is a great look when it comes to the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s 26 years old, credible, and knows what it takes to win. On the year, Lehner is 5-6-3 with a 2.54 GAA and a .917 SV%.
Now, the Islanders aren’t looking too bad this year. They’re in third place in the metropolitan division with a 17-12-4 record, drastically improving from last year.
Acquiring Lehner, who’s doing a decent job with the Isles, would mean the ‘Hawks would have to move a few pieces. Lehner isn’t a vezina winning goaltender, that’s for sure, but he’d be a great addition when it comes to stability in the crease. Not to mention, he’s affordable.
On a contract year, Lehner’s cap hit is only $1.5M. If the ‘Hawks wanted to wait out the season and sign him in the summer, it would be more than plausible. Additionally, this would allow them to further survey the Crawford situation as well.
Petr Mrazek-Carolina Hurricanes
Petr Mrazek is a promising goaltender, no doubt. He just needs to be in the right circumstances to play at a level worth competition. Similar to Crawford, Mrazek is a goaltender that makes a good team great, not a bad team good.
With his time on the Carolina Hurricanes, Mrazek is 5-6-2 with a 2.56 GAA and a .899 SV%. Now, these stats are a little bit of a downgrade from the aforementioned Robin Lehner, but Mrazek would be an easier choice to acquire.
At the end of the day, it’s easier to trade with bad teams than with good teams. The expectations are different and more often than not there’s a rebuild plan in place. Instead of trading core pieces, draft picks are involved and the trade negotiations are more flexible.
Not to mention, there’s no contract problem here as Mrazek is also signed to a $1.5M deal for this season. Sounds like an affordable choice in the summer, or an easy trade process if the ‘Hawks want to jump on it.
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These are the affordable options that won’t cost the Blackhawks too much to give away. If anything, the team needs to focus more on the defensive front as of right now. However, if the team needs to make a move on potential goaltenders, these two can provide enough help in the crease to make due for the future.