The Chicago Blackhawks goalie competition has been pretty one-sided all year – Kevin Lankinen has owned the net. However, with under ten games remaining and the season on the line, Malcolm Subban has been the hotter hand as of late.
Subban has not gotten a lot of opportunities this season. He has only played in 13 games this year, and before Saturday’s game in Detroit, his last start before that was on March 28th, which is nine games later.
Subban has gotten more opportunities than Collin Delia, and for good reason, as he has been on fire as of late. However the same way I advocated for Delia to get another crack, I believe Subban should get a chance on the ice again.
Subban can stand on his head during a game. He did it against the Red Wings when he had his second shut out of the season, and he did it against Nashville when he stopped 36 shots on goal during the team’s triumphant third-period push to victory. Sure, Subban gave up four goals against the Predators, but some of the scoring chances he stopped were grade A, and if those did manage to end up in the net the game probably would not have ended with a win because the hill was too big to climb.
The Blackhawks will probably continue to ride the hot hand.
Right now the Blackhawks net appears to belong to Malcolm Subban. The idea of playing Lankinen in the net again against the Predators after he was pulled a few games ago might be enough to turn more fans against Colliton – so just playing the hotter hand seems more justified.
Now a note about Lankinen that I believe is worth mentioning – Lankinen is in the midst of his rookie NHL season. Playing 20 or 30 games during the year is still a new concept to him at this level. Lankinen has factored into a ton of games and maybe that played an impact in his play during the past run, however, the fact that the Hawks are just the Hawks and were not helping him out very often in front did not help either.
Subban has really shown improvement during the year and could be a true contender for the lead goalie position for the years to come. Next year I think the team might bring back this combo and split the action 41 to 41 to let the two goalies battle it out to be the true number one guy.