Goaltender the biggest question mark facing the Blackhawks entering the season


CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — The biggest question mark on the Blackhawks this season is the goaltender position. Corey Crawford, when healthy, had that top spot locked down for the last decade. He’s now with the Devils, leaving four inexperienced goaltenders for the Blackhawks to choose from.

Malcolm Subban is the most seasoned NHL goaltender in camp, and he only has 66 NHL games played in his career under his belt in his career. He’s 27 years old and realistically the favorite to be the number one guy next week when the season starts.

Subban’s career record is 30-23-7 with a goals against average of 2.97 and a save percentage of .899.

Then there’s three goalies we’ve seen in Rockford Collin Delia, Kevin Lankinen, and Matt Tomkins. All age 26 and under. but Delia has appeared in only 18 NHL games in his career. Lankinen and Tompkins haven’t played in any NHL games.

Jeremy Colliton is emphasizing scrimmages in camp to get a better feel for what all four goaltenders can do.

“In the early going we’d like as many of them to show that they’re ready to play as (soon as) possible. Make it hard on us. Be at a level that we feel that anyone of them can go in and do the job.”

“I think all of us, you know we all want the same results for the team,” said Subban, “And that’s to see the team win, so we’re all pushing each other and helping each other to achieve that goal.”

Whoever takes over for Crawford will have some big skates to fill, replacing the only goaltender in franchise history to win two Stanley Cups, and the franchise’s all-time leader in postseason wins.

Around the league expectations for the Blackhawks are low this season largely because of the uncertainty at goaltender. Subban tries not to dwell on that.

“You can’t listen to that stuff too much,” said Subban. “You’ve got to stay within your group and within yourselves.”

“We’ve seen the ranking stuff about our team seeing where our team is being projected and we don’t believe that stuff.”

Regardless of which goaltender or goaltenders are in the net during the regular season, veteran defenseman Duncan Keith says it’ll be important for the Blackhawks to tighten-up the defense and not ask the goaltenders to do too much.

“I think the best way we can help our goalies is to be good defensively. That would mean being smart with the puck, obviously good positionally and keeping the puck out of our end as much as we can.”

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