The Blackhawks don’t have many UFA’s to bring back this off-season. But, both of their NHL goaltenders this year have expiring contracts and are unrestricted free agents, meaning they can choose to sign wherever they like. The goalie market is quite slim, we saw this at the trade deadline when the Oilers couldn’t afford a goalie, the Wild had to pay a first round pick for a rental goalie, and not many moves were made overall for a replacement between the pipes. In this article, I’ll give a brief analysis and breakdown of what the team should do in the case both goalies leave, and if I think either of them should be re-signed.
Delia is a 27 year old American goaltender, who has only 32 games of NHL experience all with the Blackhawks. This season, Delia spent time both in the AHL and NHL. With the Icehogs in the AHL, he played 22 games with a 3.04GAA and a .905SV%. In 8 games with the Blackhawks, Delia posted a 3.85GAA and an .899SV%.
Delia is likely going to want to return on a two way contract and if that’s the case, I’m all for it. Having someone who’s constantly chomping at the bit for an opportunity is always a great thing for teams looking to add internal competition. He may not quite be ready to be a full time NHL goalie, so a 1-2 year, two way extension for cheap would be a steal in my opinion. I’d love to keep him around for that
Kevin Lankinen has spent the last 4 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks organization. He’s a Finnish goalkeeper with 69 games of NHL experience. This past year, Lankinen mostly played backup to Marc-Andre Fleury prior to the swap with Minnesota, and became a starter afterwards. In 32 games with the Hawks this season, he posted a 3.50GAA and an .891SV%
Lankinen isn’t going to accept a 2 way deal. He has spent the last two full seasons in the NHL with the Blackhawks, and isn’t going to accept going back down to the minors anytime soon. The 27 year old will likely be looking for a 2-3 year contract worth $1-2M AAV and personally, I don’t think we should consider bringing him back unless there’s no other options on the market.
The lack of experience between the Blackhawks tandem this season was apparent once Fleury left. The team needs to bring in a veteran goalie to play with Delia, or have Delia as a 2 way goalie bouncing between the NHL and minors, and spend some money bringing in two brand new goalies.