The Chicago Blackhawks have a number of goalies under contract right now, but next season things get a little more complicated.
When I think of the Chicago Blackhawks starting goalie, I instantly think of Corey Crawford. It is hard to imagine there might be a time when that is not the case, especially when you look at how much Crawford has meant to the Blackhawks.
Corey Crawford has been the Blackhawks goalie since 2011. I remember how great he was in the last four games of the 2011 playoffs against Vancouver. He almost helped get us out of the first round, and he was a big reason we won the 2013 Stanley Cup. He had a Conn Smythe caliber playoff in 2013, no matter who ended up with the trophy.
I think Crawford will be back for another season, no matter what the contract will be. Crawford is the right guy to have in net the next few seasons as we push towards the next starting goalie in Chicago.
The Blackhawks have Collin Delia, Kevin Lankinen, and Matt Tomkins all under contract for next season. Lankinen might have what it takes to be an NHL goalie, but Collin Delia also has NHL experience under his belt. The current backup in Chicago also has some question marks with next season.
Malcolm Subban has the potential to be a great starting goalie. Some day I believe the 26-year-old is really going to hit his stride in the NHL. I would not mind seeing him back next season behind Crawford to see what he can do. The only way that will happen though is if the goalies down in the minors need more time before they play in the NHL someday.
Honestly having Crawford and Lehner was arguably the best goalie tandem in the NHL. It gave the Blackhawks a great goalie every night, and it was fun to watch who got the start. We really did not have a backup goalie. Moving forward things are not going to be like that.
The Blackhawks are going to have one starting goalie if Crawford is back next season. Money is already going to be tight. There is no way we are going to be able to go out and add any big-name players in free agency or even through a trade. That means Chicago might not be able to bring back both of their goalies on expiring contracts.
While I want to see Malcolm Subban get a chance with the Blackhawks, I just do not think the team has that much interest in it. Subban, who was acquired at the trade deadline because the Blackhawks needed a backup goalie, has not played a game with the Blackhawks yet. He deserves a shot somewhere.
If I had to place my guess right now I think next season we will see Corey Crawford in the net with Collin Delia to back him up. I like Delia and think he has the potential to step into the starting net a few years down the line. We already saw a little of him during the 2018-19 season when Crawford was hurt and Delia played much of the second half of the season with Cam Ward.
Delia and Crawford would make a great duo in the NHL. It also does not hurt when you realize multiple backups of Crawford have gone on to be starters. That gives me some hope that Delia can be the Blackhawks’ next goalie!