Think about some of the teams that played throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs this August and September, a lot of them offer a learning experience for the Blackhawks, and I hope they were paying attention.
Stan Bowman has done his best to rebuild the Blackhawks defense, but along the way, I think he forgot that Corey Crawford can not play hockey forever. The Chicago Blackhawks find themselves in a mirky position when it comes to a goalie for next year, yet their problems are more significant than that.
Vegas used both Robin Lehner and Mark-Andre Fleury throughout their playoff run this Spring; Dallas rotated goalies throughout their series. So did the New York Islanders throughout their run to the conference finals. The NHL might be a league where you only have one goalie in the net at any given time, but the future successful teams have two goalies that can start any given night.
The best teams in the league have always had a great goalie tandem that could steal games from your opponent night in and night out. A team does not want to see a drop off when their starter is not playing, and Chicago had just that with Robin Lehner and Corey Crawford. During the stretch with those two great goalies, I ultimately ignored who was in net, knowing both could give Chicago a win.
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So with all that in mind, you can imagine the dismay that Chicago does not even have one goalie heading into next season. This is a two goalie league, and yet the Blackhawks find themselves in a contract negotiation stalemate with Corey Crawford, and their next best option is Collin Delia.
Goaltending in its entirety needs to become a focal point moving forward for the Blackhawks, and I hope we can find a way to make it a strength for years to come. Look at a team like Pittsburgh that just continued to bring great goalies into their organization that eventually turned into starters. Matt Murray came out of nowhere and Tristan Jarry is a former second-round pick from 2013 for the Pens that is now their starter.
Chicago needs to focus on adding goalies like that for years to come. Yes it is a hit or miss position to draft, and more times than not the goalie does not work out, but the Blackhawks have an opening, and that means an opportunity for some young goalie in the future.
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If Corey Crawford does not work out, I would assume the team will have to trade for a starter or sign one via free agency. Either way, I would not worry too much about the Blackhawks starter for next season. It is the backup and the starter who we will see in three or four seasons that concerns me for right now, as I just do not think the Blackhawks have anyone in their organization that can fill that role right now.