Blackhawks: Does Drafting A Goalie To Backup Crawford Make Sense?
By Ryan Fedrau
The Chicago Blackhawks could potentially just draft a backup goalie and re-sign Corey Crawford. Would that make sense though?
I could imagine the Chicago Blackhawks re-signing Corey Crawford and taking a growing year in net with a young goalie. The goalie in the draft that is close to being NHL ready is Yaroslav Askarov. It still does take goalies some time to be NHL ready, so there’s no way he’d be a starter day one.
Drafting Askarov is a project for the next few seasons. There’s little chance he could start and be successful early on. The starting role would have to go to Crawford, with Askarov getting time to get his feet wet in the NHL.
Drafting Crawford’s replacement at 17, if Askarov is still on the board is a no-brainer. Heck, even trading up for Askarov would be worth it, as scouts see him as the next top goalie in the NHL. At 17, the team most-likely isn’t drafting someone NHL ready either way. Why not trade up and go after Askarov?
Yaroslav Askarov has a high ceiling and could even go in the Top 10. Trading up for him would need to happen when he is still on the board, instead of trading up and assuming he’d be on the board before the Hawks even pick. They’d have to move into the Top 12 for a chance on him unless he slips on draft night.
There are two situations I see with Askarov. The Blackhawks trade up, draft him, and have him back up Crawford next season, or they give him a year or two in Rockford and give Kevin Lankinen and/or Collin Delia a shot as Crawford’s backup. Lankinen has improved a lot over the past couple of seasons and could be NHL ready soon. Lankinen and/or Delia could be the ones to keep Askarov’s seat warm.
I’m excited to see what happens with the goaltending situation. It’s so fascinating to me. Whoever is in net could make or break for the Hawks chances of being a playoff team next season. We’ll know more in the coming weeks, likely after the Stanley Cup Final.