Analysis

The State of the Chicago Blackhawks’ Goalie Situation

By Jonathan Durrbeck
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18: Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks follows the action against the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center on October18, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18: Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks follows the action against the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center on October18, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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CHICAGO, IL – JUNE 12: Goalie Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks makes a save in the first period against the Boston Bruins in Game One of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final at United Center on June 12, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by BB/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – JUNE 12: Goalie Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks makes a save in the first period against the Boston Bruins in Game One of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final at United Center on June 12, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by BB/Getty Images) /

Corey Crawford – 2003 2nd Round Pick, #52 overall

When you talk about prospects, you’re usually describing their style of play and what they can become, or even comparing them to an NHL goaltender.

When it comes to elite goaltenders like Corey Crawford, you let the honors do the talking:

  • 2-time Stanley Cup Champion
  • 2-time Jennings Trophy winner
  • 2-time NHL All-Star
  • A World Cup Gold Medal, most shutouts in 2015-2016 (7), and was named All-Rookie Team in 2010-2011

Crawford has certainly earned a place in the conversation when talking about elite goaltenders in this league and his absence was felt the past couple of years.

https://twitter.com/Blackhawk_Up/status/1168948499230134274

What’s interesting is that Crawford’s contract is up after this season and Lehner signed a one-year deal which means his contract is up after this year, too.

Lehner is definitely a safety net with the recent injuries Crawford has sustained, but it also sets them up to make a real run at it this year.

The way the NHL is moving in terms of playing time for goaltenders is that the starters aren’t playing 65-70 games a year anymore.

The goalies that are part of the Stanley Cup teams don’t play a large amount of games each year.

For the recent winners, the goaltenders who were in net to win them the Cup, their regular season games played are:

  • 48: Jordan Binnington – St. Louis Blues (32) and San Antonio Rampage (16)
  • 54: Braden Holtby – Washington Capitals
  • 49: Matt Murray – Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 44: Matt Murray – Pittsburgh Penguins (13) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (31)

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Crawford played 57 games when the Hawks won in 2015, and for reference, he played in 39 games last year.

Let’s hope all goes perfectly and Crawford/Lehner is your tandem for all 82 games this year. I predict that Crawford plays in 52 games of those games and Lehner in the remaining 30.

I still think Crawford is Chicago’s number one. He has proved he can make the saves when it matters most and it also helps that he has lifted two Cups over his head before. It seems that this year will decide who the Blackhawks move forward with between Crawford and Lehner.

Depending on how the year goes, I’d give Crawford the extension and Delia the opportunity if he’s ready.

Crawford has been with the organization since the Norfolk Admirals were an affiliate. He’s the best guy to have in this situation because of his experience and familiarity. It’s going to be a big help in bringing Delia into the next stage of his career.

For now, Crawford and Lehner put to rest any questions regarding the goaltending situation and will help bring this team back to the playoffs, maybe even a journey to another Stanley Cup.

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