Analysis

Should The Blackhawks Pursue a Top Goalie?

By Joseph Felicelli
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 25: Kevin Lankinen #32 of the Chicago Blackhawks makes a save against the Florida Panthers at the United Center on March 25, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Panthers 3-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 25: Kevin Lankinen #32 of the Chicago Blackhawks makes a save against the Florida Panthers at the United Center on March 25, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Panthers 3-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Collin Delia #60, Chicago Blackhawks
Collin Delia #60, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Usual Suspects

Collin Delia was given the first crack at securing the job, and out of the gate, he allowed 5 goals in each of his first two starts, logging a save percentage in the .860s. That simply wasn’t good enough. He was benched, and eventually placed in limbo, where he wasn’t getting regular minutes in Rockford, but was not getting a chance to redeem himself, until late in the season.

He got to start or play in 4 games late in the season, and performed better. He faced 122 shots, allowing 10 goals, for a .918 save percentage once he got back in the lineup, and looked far more comfortable in the net. Was this an indicator of what we could expect from Delia, or was this him playing better with less pressure on him?

Malcolm Subban was given the second crack at the job, and proceeded to give up 5 goals in his first start, and didn’t see the ice again for almost 2 weeks. After that, he settled in to his role as the backup to Lankinen, and posted respectable numbers until a rough patch late in the season.

The thing about Subban is that he is capable of making saves very few goalies are able to. He routinely gets to pucks that give other goalies fits. However, he struggles mightily with rebound control, and teams often get wide open nets against him when they get to rebounds. Can you count on him to solve that part of his game, or is this who he is as a goalie?

If you believe one of these two is good enough to back up Lankinen, the ‘Hawks have a very favorable goalie situation, with under $2M committed to the net for the upcoming season. But if you believe the Blackhawks need a better tandem in net, they will either have to trade for one, or sign a free agent this offseason.

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