The starting goalie question wasn’t necessarily answered, but it wasn’t my pre-season pick of Malcolm Subban. He wasn’t bad when he played and even recorded a couple of shutouts. However, he didn’t make a strong enough case to be the team’s “1A” option in the net. Instead, that has gone to Kevin Lankinen, and deservedly so.
Subban’s SV% at the end of the season was .900. That’s firmly in the realm of a competent backup. Lankinen on the other hand ended the year with .909. While that’s marginally better, Lankinen played 37 out of the 56 games, whereas Subban played 16.
Somewhat forgotten goalie Collin Delia played the rest. Lankinen got more starts in the compressed season, and it would be hard not to think that once he started to perform in net, he got the starter’s share of the starts. It’s not Lankinen’s net at all, but Subban didn’t take the crease as I had thought.
I kind of predicted that the Blackhawks would split it kind of evenly – similar to Lehner and Crawford. That did not happen. I do not even think the team rode the hot hand because if that was the case Lankinen would not have been given as many games as he had.
I picked Collin Delia to eventually win the Blackhawks starting goalie job this season. Delia was able to get some starts early on but when the team got blown out those games, with Lankinen coming in and playing well, Delia would be sent to the AHL/taxi squad for most of the season. I did not expect Lankinen to play as well as he did but later on in the season, Lankinen did slow down with Delia getting some more starts.
I originally thought that if any one goalie was to get the edge in net, it would be Malcolm Subban. However, Kevin Lankinen really ended up surprising everybody and kept the ‘Hawks in many games that they probably should’ve lost. I don’t think anyone expected a guy with no NHL experience to jump into the league so quickly. However, Subban, as well as Collin Delia, are both still battling for that top position, so I’d expect that to continue next year.