4 Goaltending is really the difference-maker for the Hawks:
When the Blackhawks were winning games this season, their goaltending was the big difference-maker. In the past five games, the Hawks have struggled and in part, it is because their goaltending has struggled.
I think Kevin Lankinen is going to be a great NHL goalie with this team. I do however think he is going to need the offseason to improve. The Hawks goaltending has always gotten better with time. While Crawford was amazing during his rookie year in 2010-11 when he finally broke into the NHL, it was not till a few years later that he was winning Stanley Cups.
The Hawks are not the best team in the league and defensively they are still towards the bottom. The teams goaltending can not be judged too critically this season because the pieces in front of them are still not there.
It does make me frustrated that over a year ago this team had Robin Lehner and Corey Crawford within their organization and failed to bring back either of them. Yes, Crawford did go on to retire after signing with New Jersey, but Lehner did not need to be traded.
As the team carries on with the next 26 games this season It is just important to remember that the goaltending might not be the biggest problem with this team. Sure Lankinen and Subban might give up a bad goal or a bad rebound here and there, but they are just now breaking into the league as NHL regulars.
If by the time next season goes around the team is still having these issues then it might be time to hit the panic button.