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Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks: They Released the Kraken…Now What?

Joseph Felicelli
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - AUGUST 21: The Team Store for the Seattle Kraken, the NHL's newest franchise, opens for business on August 21, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jim Bennett/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - AUGUST 21: The Team Store for the Seattle Kraken, the NHL's newest franchise, opens for business on August 21, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jim Bennett/Getty Images)
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Kevin Lankinen #32, Chicago Blackhawks
Kevin Lankinen #32, Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Goalies

Kevin Lankinen, Malcolm Subban, and Colin Delia are all eligible for the Expansion Draft. The Hawks can only protect 1 of them, regardless of which method they choose for their Expansion Draft List. Let’s take a look at each, and then decide what the Hawks Could or Should do:

Kevin Lankinen:  Has decent size at 6’2”, 185. Was considered the 3rd wheel in the goalie competition in training camp, but when given the opportunity to audition for the job, seized it and held the #1 G spot for the majority of the season. Played in 37 games, and finished with a 3.01 GAA, and a 0.909 save percentage. Based on what I saw, he wore down towards the end of the season, and his numbers reflected the slide down the stretch. He is a solid technical goalie and puts himself in position a lot of the time. His weak spot seems to be blocker side high, and teams attacked that as the season wore on. Under contract for ’21-’22 for a bargain $800K Cap Hit (Cap Friendly).

Malcolm Subban:  Also a 6’2 goalie, about the same size as Lankinen. The most experienced of the 3 goalies coming into camp, with 86 professional games in his career. He struggled early, but settled in to the #2G role, and played pretty well. Finished the year with a 3.20 GAA, and an even 0.900 save percentage.

Subban is highly athletic, and regularly makes the highlight reel save that makes you ooh and aahhh, but if there is an area where he “struggles,” it’s rebound control. Too many rebounds ended up in front, giving the opposition second shots on him too often.

A lot of that can be attributed to poor defense in front, but those rebounds need to go to poor-angle areas of the zone to allow recovery time to the G. Under contract for ’21-’22 for a bargain $850k Cap Hit (Cap Friendly)

Colin Delia:  The Hawks seem to like 6’2, 185-190 lb goalies, as Delia checks in at the same measurement. Coming into camp, most assumed it was his job to lose, and he apparently did that in his first two outings, giving up a heavy handful of goals in each game. He spent the majority of the year after that in Rockford or on the Taxi Squad, only appearing in 6 games in the NHL, but only 4 games for Rockford.

A forgotten man for most of the year, he made the most of his final appearances, looking solid at the end of the year, but not spectacular. He is a solid technician, but lacks the “wow” factor of Subban, and the consistency of Lankinen in positioning. He has a $1M Cap Hit in ’21-’22 (Cap Friendly).

Verdict: I believe there is no question the Hawks protect Lankinen for the Expansion Draft, as he was clearly their #1 option for the ‘20-‘21 season. With some conditioning, some work on his blocker side, which I am sure Jimmy Waite is already working on, and a more balanced workload, he should be the #1 G again, and the hope has to be that the Hawks will see more of the 0.920 Save Percentage, 2.4-2.6 GAA player they had for chunks of this past season.

Risk: The Hawks are at mild risk of losing either Subban or Delia to the Expansion Draft, but given the players, the Hawks will have to expose at F and D, I believe the risk is very low that they will lose either of them. If one does go, I believe it will be Subban, for his abilities on the “wow” side as a backup G.

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