Blackhawks: Free Agent Goalie Options for the Offseason
By Ryan Fedrau
The pool of Free Agents options for the Chicago Blackhawks’ goalie situation is very thin. This is something Stan Bowman will need to get on quickly.
Corey Crawford can’t be the Chicago Blackhawks‘ goalie forever. They might get another two to three productive years out of him. The question becomes, who will be the Blackhawks’ second goalie?
Well first, they have to re-sign Crawford. He is a free agent this offseason, so if they plan on keeping him, they’d need to iron out a fair contract. If they could get one where Chicago isn’t coughing up too much money, where could they look?
Well, they have Malcolm Subban as Crawford’s backup. Subban is a free agent this summer also. So, do they call it a day and re-sign him? I wouldn’t. We have no idea how good or how bad Subban is. I’m taking a wild guess and thinking that Subban isn’t that good. Jeremy Colliton has refused to play him when he should, so far.
The Blackhawks have backed themselves into a bind. They need to re-sign Crawford and he knows it. Crawford does need a backup goalie though, someone who can compete for the starting role but play well in relief. So, who fits that description?
The correct answer is Jacob Markstrom.
The Blackhawks could afford Markstrom, but can Vancouver afford to let him walk in Free Agency? Markstrom will be a UFA this summer. On July 1st, 2020, the Blackhawks could throw $5,500,000 AAV his way, which would change everything.
With two younger goalies playing while Markstrom is injured, maybe they want to move towards the younger goalies.
Not many teams are willing to throw money at a goalie after they’ve had knee surgery. Markstrom was playing well before his injury, where it’s worth a shot. The only mistake the Blackhawks cannot make is giving him a no-movement clause.
A Markstrom/Crawford lineup could be better than what they had this season with Robin Lehner. Before the injury, Markstrom was leading his Canucks to the playoffs. Lehner wasn’t leading the Blackhawks anywhere.
The Blackhawks should offer Markstrom a 4-year, $5,500,000 AAV contract. With Crawford, he needs to be cheaper. He isn’t worth $5,500,000 AAV anymore. He might not even be the starter next season if they do make an aggressive move in Free Agency.
It’s worth a shot. What do they have to lose?