The Chicago Blackhawks defensive deficiencies have a big impact on goaltending.
Last season, the Chicago Blackhawks ranked 30th of 31 teams with 292 goals against. This is an average of almost 4 goals against per game and the goalies were being shelled each game.
Two key players that can help change the goals against average for the Blackhawks would be Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner. Crow and Lehner form one of the best goalie tandems in the NHL, and one of the most expensive at that. Both are paid $5 million or more per year, so you can bet only one will return next year.
The Chicago Blackhawks do not really have one starting goaltender. The most similar goalie tandem I see around the NHL would be Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta in Arizona. The two are always battling game after game to see who will play next. However, the Blackhawks need to worry about the past at the same time.
Corey Crawford will always be one of the best goaltenders in Chicago Blackhawks’ franchise history. We gave him a spot in our Chicago Blackhawks dream team because of his years helping the team and winning 2 Stanley Cups.
I think Jeremy Colliton has been struggling to stay unbiased when it comes to who gets the starts. They are still treating Corey Crawford like the “starter” for the organization. Even though the Blackhawks had a big win against the Edmonton Oilers, and Corey Crawford only gave up one goal against, that does not mean he deserved to get the start that night.
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Before Monday, Corey Crawford had given up 9 goals, while Robin Lehner only gave up 3. Neither goalie had won a game, but Lehner did have the better save percentage (.909). Obviously, you shouldn’t base starts strictly on stats, but for the most part, Lehner deserved the start.
This won’t be the last time we talk about the goalie tandem for the Blackhawks. The two goalies will battle all season long. I am just saying that Robin Lehner did not come to Chicago to be the back up to Corey Crawford. He came to compete for the starting position.
Lehner could be the X-factor for the Blackhawks, especially when he continues to make saves like this.
I am excited to see who the Chicago Blackhawks will have playing in a few months. I just hope both goalies are given a fair shot. I would have said Robin Lehner had the upper hand in the goalie battle, but then Corey Crawford did get the start on Monday and performed very well.