Corey Crawford finally made his return to the Blackhawks net and looks to be back in the same elite capacity after nearly a year recovering from injury. If Crawford is indeed back to his usual self what exactly does this mean for the Blackhawks?
The Blackhawks finally get some stability in the net. Last year, the Blackhawks really didn’t have a bonified backup goalie to carry the team without Crawford instead they had an inexperienced group of AHL goalies that had a difficult time adjusting to the NHL.
This year Cam Ward is the backup goalie the Blackhawks needed. He may not be the best option and yes he has struggled, but he’s an experienced goalie that will at least give the Blackhawks a fighting chance every game. The more troubling problem is the defense in front of Ward. That hasn’t been solid so far this season and it’s led to Ward giving up some goals that he shouldn’t.
With Crawford back in the fold, Ward’s utilization as backup can come to fruition and provide the Blackhawks some good value.
This could be the last we ever see of Anton Forsberg with the Blackhawks. The team did waive him but he was not claimed by any team, so he was sent to Rockford to play in the AHL for the IceHogs.
If Crawford can stay healthy the Blackhawks will have a decent shot at making the playoffs.
The goalie looked like he didn’t miss a beat in the win over Columbus on Saturday night, allowing just 1 goal and making 37 saves for his first win since December 17th, 2017.
In Crawford’s season debut against the Coyotes on Thursday, he had this impressive sequence:
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) October 19, 2018
Crawford has always been a big part of the Blackhawks incredible streak of playoff appearances and was often overlooked. Crawford’s absence last year helped people realize his importance.
The Blackhawks could find themselves in the middle of a playoff race and there is a big chance that they try to add a top 4 defenseman at the trade deadline to help improve in front of Crawford. With nearly $5 million in cap space, the Blackhawks will have plenty of room to bulk up the defense.
Finally, the Blackhawks will have a tough decision to make next year when Crawford’s contract comes to an end. Do the Blackhawks trade him at the deadline to get a decent return? Do they let him go to free agency or do they resign him for an appropriate amount and term?
With little goalie depth, I would like to see them get a solid goalie prospect for Crawford or re-sign him.