Who will be the Chicago Blackhawks goalie of the future?
By Jake Wheeler
Corey Crawford’s future with the Chicago Blackhawks is a gloomy one. Due to his age and injury history, the Blackhawks are left with a difficult choice on whether or not to resign him.
Currently, the Chicago Blackhawks have Malcolm Subban as a pending RFA, and no one knows if he’ll be brought back or not. After only playing a small portion of a game, due to Corey Crawford having to leave the game, it seems unlikely he’ll be retained. Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen, who both manned the net in Rockford, have two years left on their deals. Since Delia has previous NHL experience, it leaves many people wondering if he could be the Blackhawks’ backup this season.
This is where the Blackhawks’ biggest question mark lies. After these two or three players, depending on if Subban is retained, who else do the Blackhawks have that shows real promise? The answer in no one. After not retaining Alexis Gravel and Wouter Peeters, the only goalies in their system are Dominic Basse and Ivan Nalimov.
The Blackhawks could go out and sign Jacob Markstrom, Braden Holtby, Thomas Greiss, Cam Talbot, or Anton Khudobin in free agency, but all of these goalies are 30+ years old. The Blackhawks could trade for Frederik Andersen, Darcy Kuemper, Joonas Korpisalo, or Matt Murray. However, the team should look to the entry draft for their goalie of the future.
Since the Blackhawks did not select Spencer Knight in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft or Yaroslav Askarov in the 2020 NHL Draft, here are two goalies for Blackhawks fans to keep their eyes on.
In the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, goaltender Joel Blomqvist is a projected late 2nd round or early 3rd round pick. The 6’1 Finn has played two games in the Liiga for Karpat this season and has a 1.50 GAA and a .914 SV%.
In the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, goaltender Jesper Wallstedt is a projected first-round pick. The 6’3 Swede put up a 2.53 GAA and a .923 SV% with Lulea HF’s affiliate in the 2019-2020 season. In addition, when Wallstedt was with Lulea HF of the SHL last year he played one game and had a 1.55 GAA and a .944 SV%. This season, he has played one game with Lulea HF’s affiliate and has a shutout and he’s played one SHL game and has a 1.00 GAA and a .952 SV%.
Both Blomqvist and Wallstedt are players to keep your eyes on due to their immense skill set, big frames and the Blackhawks lack of good goaltender prospects.