Dynasties have things in common.
Look at the New England Patriots, who always seems to have some of the best slot receivers and underrated defensive players in the game.
The Chicago Blackhawks are no different.
One thing the Blackhawks had in common over their years of dominance was having two solid goaltenders. There was Corey Crawford and Ray Emery, Crawford and Antti Raanta, and finally, Crawford and Scott Darling.
Like most, I was a bit concerned when I saw the Hawks give $5 million to a goalie with Crawford still being on the roster. I immediately thought a trade was coming, but later changed my view on this signing altogether.
This was a great move by general manager Stan Bowman. Why? Well because of Corey Crawford.
Crawford hasn’t been able to stay healthy for years. With the Blackhawks looking to make the playoffs, Crawford cannot be trusted to make it through a full season. When he’s on, he’s still a great goalie, but the best attribute for Crawford to have at this point in his career is availability.
That’s where Robin Lehner comes in.
He will provide the Hawks with a solid second goalie, who can start and win games. If Lehner plays as good as he did last season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the two players split time in net.
At this point, the less workload on Crawford, the better.
Last year at this time the Hawks had given $3 million to veteran goalie Cam Ward to be their the backup. Again, Crawford can’t be trusted. He’s also a UFA after this season. If Lehner plays well, the Hawks will extend him and let Crawford walk.
Lehner, 27, is coming off his best season as a pro. He finished the year with a 2.13 goals-against average, .930 save percentage, and 25-13 overall record, which included six shutouts. Lehner was also a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, which goes to the league’s best goaltender.
While Lehner didn’t win the Vezina, he won the next best thing: The Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. Check out his story below.
Bowman and the rest of the Hawks front office were “stunned” Lehner was a possibility for them. On a conference call, Lehner called Crawford a role model and spoke about how much he looked forward to playing with him going forward.
I don’t always agree with what Stanbowman has to say, but I’m 100% behind on this:
“We have the best 1-2 punch in the league.”
Nick is the editor-in-chief at TheLoopSports.com & owner of TheChalkTLS.com. He is also a fantasy sports junkie, sports bettor, and Bears/Football fanatic. For more fun, follow him on Twitter @PetroTLS.