Kevin Lankinen was signed by the Chicago Blackhawks as an undrafted free agent in 2018.
After being passed up by EVERY NHL TEAM SEVEN TIMES, Kevin Lankinen was given a chance by the Chicago Blackhawks. Despite earning a (via EliteProspects) 0.946 save percentage, and a 1.33 GAA in his draft year in Finland’s Liiga, no NHL team thought he was worth the risk. And the Hawks didn’t either, to be honest, but they decided to take their chance on him later on.
What a great decision.
Lank the Tank has shown why he is the “steal” of the 2018 draft class. Going undrafted to becoming the number-one goaltender on a young, up-and-coming Blackhawks team is definitely one of the stories of the season.
He carried the Blackhawks on some nights, including his 41 save shutout over the Florida Panthers just last night. When his team makes mistakes, Lank always seems to get them out of a mess, and that’s huge for the Hawks.
Corey Crawford was 26 when he took over the net from Antti Niemi, and he adjusted to the starter role to win two Stanley Cups over time. He won his first cup in 2013 when the Blackhawks were retooling for another Cup run after two straight first-round exits.
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He was a stud at 26 as well, earning a (via HockeyReference) 33-18-6 record, a 2.30 GAA and a 0.917 save percentage. Lankinen is 25 years of age and (at the time of this writing) has a 0.915 save percentage and a 2.83 GAA behind a defense that is much worse than the Hawks had in 2010-11.
Kevin Lankinen is an incredible goaltender with a well-rounded skillset: Great positioning, awareness, poise, and athleticism. He is also making incredible saves, from his 3 on 0 rush save to the spin, desperation save in the first game against the Panthers. He makes simple saves as well and is rarely out of position.
His defense is starting to step up, denying the high-quality second chance opportunities. Despite this, the Panthers still shot 41 SOG, multiple of them scoring chances against him but Lankinen still won the Blackhawks the game.
To conclude, Kevin Lankinen is a huge steal for the Hawks, as they signed him as a free agent after all 30 teams (including them) passed upon him seven times in the draft. His stats show that he would be a great goaltender, though his injury that sidelined him for most of the season probably scared scouts off.
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He has been stupendous this season and only looks to be getting better, working with Jimmy Waite, who developed Corey Crawford into a Hall of Fame goaltender. With Lank’s last two outings, he definitely looks to be a part of the Blackhawks’ long-term plans and should be locked in for another three years once his contract expires.
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