With Corey Crawford not getting any younger, the Chicago Blackhawks need to address the starting goaltending situation in the offseason.
Crawford won’t be the starting goalie for the Blackhawks for more than the next two-to-three seasons. That is if he re-signs in the summer. So, where does that leave the team? Needing a future replacement.
With the injury history of Crawford, it’s safe to find that replacement in the summer. If the replacement ends up being someone who can start right away, maybe it’s time to let Crawford walk.
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A few players that come to mind that could replace Crawford in the summer are Jacob Markstrom, Anton Khudobin, and of course, either Kevin Lankienen or Collin Delia. I’d be more inclined to keep Crawford to play half of the season unless Chicago could land Markstrom.
What needs to be set straight is the situation with Subban. There’s no possible way Malcolm Subban has a serious shot with the Blackhawks. He doesn’t fit the mold as a starting goalie, which is something this team needs. They cannot rely on Crawford for much longer. Subban is a backup at best.
Khudobin is a good signing for the team, though I would keep him as a backup. He was paid $2,500,000 this season, which is affordable for a backup goalie. That is great, especially when Crawford should be getting paid less in 2020-21.
Look, Chicago is going to be tight on cap space. Dylan Strome and Dominik Kubalik need to be paid. If Crawford takes less money, the team can afford to keep him, while re-signing both Strome and Kubalik. If he wants to be paid higher, either Markstrom or Khudobin would be a decent fit in Chicago.
Losing Crawford would give either Lankienen or Delia the chance to back up or even start as early as October 2020, if the NHL ever gets a chance to resume.