Both teams began formal training camps earlier this week in preparation. A giant hole in Chicago’s roster has been apparent since then. Corey Crawford has been absent, and is still listed as “unfit to participate” three days into training camp.
A native of Montréal, Crawford compiled a 16-20-3 record this year with a tidy .917 SV%, a 2.77 GAA and one shutout. That’s about par for the course over the two time Cup champion’s career, which averages out to a .918 SV% since his first full season back in 2010-11.
So why is Crawford out? You’re not going to hear much about injuries between now and the conclusion of the playoffs this year. Teams won’t be required to reveal information about why a player is unfit to participate except for...that...they’re unable...to participate for whatever reason. That might mean it’s a conditioning issue. It could be a day-to-day injury. Or, it could be something else altogether.
Whatever the reason that Crawford isn’t available, it creates a considerable gap in net for the Blackhawks. It could also create a considerable opportunity for the Oilers.
Who else can Chicago fall back on between the pipes?
- Collin Delia (16-13-1, .912 SV% / 2.66 GAA, 3 SO w/ Rockford AHL) is an undrafted free agent out of Merrimack College. Delia played sixteen games with the Hawks in 2018-19, but spent his time in Rockford this season. It’s important to note that Delia hails from Rancho Cucamonga, which is fun to say. Filled in for Crawford to begin his NHL career in late 2018.
- Malcolm Subban (9-7-3, 890 SV% / 3.17 GAA) spent the last two and a half years in Vegas prior to being moved to Chicago in a deal that saw Robin Lehner head to Sin City. Subban has about 50 more games in the NHL over Delia, which might give him a head start towards Game 1 of the play-in series on August 1st. The 26-year-old Subban was a first round draft pick by Boston back in 2012.
- Kevin Lankinen (8-10-2, .909 SV% / 3.03 GAA w/ Rockford AHL) is the wild card. Like Delia, he spent time in Rockford this season. Unlike Delia, has not yet played an NHL game.
Subban has the most experience out of all three goaltenders, and could be the go-to when the play-in series begins in August if Corey Crawford is unable to go. Whomever Chicago selects to open the play-in series, they’ll have plenty of firepower to contend with.