Blackhawks: Chicago must re-sign Corey Crawford and Dylan Strome
By Ryan Fedrau
During the upcoming offseason, both Corey Crawford and Dylan Strome will be free agents. The Chicago Blackhawks must re-sign both players.
If the Chicago Blackhawks don’t re-sign both Corey Crawford and Dylan Strome, there will be two keyholes they’ll have to get around in 2020-21. Crawford and Strome play big roles for the team, something this rebuild can’t afford to lose.
Let’s start with the importance of keeping Corey Crawford in Chicago. The big answer is, there’s no one else to take his spot. Robin Lehner is long gone, it’s a waste of time to talk about his trade at this point. Lehner was the guy that should have taken over for Crawford, but he didn’t. It was a terrible decision to send Lehner to Vegas.
So now, with no one else out there, Crawford is the best and probably cheapest option. The Blackhawks could go on the market and go after someone like Jacob Markstrom, but they might have to overpay for him. There’s no good reason to overpay for Markstrom, as he’ll be 31 next year.
Besides the injury risks, the Blackhawks know what they’re getting with Crawford in net. He’s still a solid, top 15 goalie, who will win the team some games. He just has to be more consistent. He’ll never be a full-time starter again, that will carry a team to the playoffs.
He’s a goalie that needs to split time with another goalie. That’s why he and Lehner worked so well. It’s just the cold, hard truth.
When it comes to Dylan Strome, re-signing him is a must. Strome and Alex DeBrincat are going to be the future of the Blackhawks. They need to be put back on the same line when hockey returns. Splitting them up wastes away a lot of points. Remember, DeBrincat put up 40 goals last season, a lot of them with Strome playing on the same line as him.
Strome was a trade steal and has played well with the Blackhawks since joining the team in late 2018. There’s no reason to let him walk, or even trade him as he is a restricted free agent. This would be a big mistake, a mistake that you’d think Stan Bowman learned from after trading away Artemi Panarin.
It’ll be a huge mistake and a shocker if Strome doesn’t have a deal ironed out to be with the Blackhawks for the long haul. It’ll be just another reason why firing Stan Bowman should have been two years ago.
Hopefully, hockey will return soon, the Blackhawks will play well, and they’ll re-sign Crawford and Strome. There isn’t a good reason why they shouldn’t.