In a relatively surprising development, Chicago Blackhawks starting goalie Corey Crawford was deemed “unfit to play” by the team following Monday’s first return to play training camp practice.
Crawford was left as the team’s only NHL goalie with playoff experience when Robin Lehner was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights at the trade deadline in February. Former Boston Bruins first-round pick Malcolm Subban was acquired from Vegas in the trade, but has only 66 games of NHL experience as a backup and no playoff games. Behind Subban is Collin Delia with 18 NHL under his belt and, again, no playoff experience. Kevin Lankinen and Matt Tomkins are also in camp, but neither netminder has played an NHL game. Lankinen was called up as an emergency backup for a couple of games this season, but never saw the ice.
Colliton on Corey Crawford, who did not skate today: “Today, Corey is unfit to participate. For now, it’s an opportunity for those guys to compete.” #Blackhawks
— Carter Baum (@CarterBaum) July 13, 2020
As Mario Tirabassi mentioned on Twitter, Crawford and his wife just welcomed their second son in March, which may play a factor. Another thing to take into account is his post-concussion issues, which could potentially be back in the mix. Thanks to the NHL’s new injury/illness protocol, Crawford’s reason for absence might not be known until the play-in and playoffs are over.
Either way, the Blackhawks need Crawford if they intend on beating the Edmonton Oilers in the play-in round and making it to the first round of the playoffs. Then, General Manager Stan Bowman will need to decide if Crawford is worth extending for next season. If the team does not extend Crawford, there could be some even darker times in store for the 2020–21 season with no experienced goalies and very limited salary cap money to sign one.
Jeremy Colliton on Corey Crawford and the opportunity for Subban, Delia and Lankinen. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/JKfUt4jKuD
— Eric Lear (@BHTVeric) July 13, 2020
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