Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman dropped some surprising news at the top of his Zoom call with the media on Thursday. Bowman announced the team wouldn't be re-signing 35-year-old two-time Stanley Cup champion goalie Corey Crawford.
"The message to Corey and to everyone else today is that we've decided that we've got some young goaltenders here in Chicago that we believe in, much like [how] Corey needed that opportunity when he came up after the 2010 season. He had been with us for a few years working his way up," Bowman said.
"We've got a couple young guys here in (Kevin) Lankinen and (Collin) Delia who we haven't given a really big opportunity to, but with where we're headed... and the NHL is relying more and more on young players, we're going to embrace that moving forward."
Lankinen, 25, is yet to make his NHL debut. He went 8-10-2 and had a 3.03 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage with the Hawks' American Hockey League affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs last season.
Delia, 26, is 7-5-3 with a 3.65 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage in 18 games with the Blackhawks across the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. He's spent the majority of the past three seasons with the IceHogs.
There's a considerable chance you'll still see the Hawks go out and get another goalie. Free agency opens up Friday at 11 a.m. CT. There was also a previous report that the Blackhawks checked on Pittsburgh Penguins restricted free agent Matt Murray.
Ahead of the 2019-20 regular season, the Hawks signed goalie Robin Lehner to a one-year deal before trading him to the Vegas Golden Knights ahead of the trade deadline. Lehner took the Knights to the Western Conference Final in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs and recently inked a five-year, $25 million deal with Vegas.
670 The Score's Jay Zawaski reported that the Blackhawks are still in search of a starting goalie.
Bowman also said that despite Chicago not extending goalie Malcolm Subban a qualifying offer, they still may look to sign him to be in the goalie mix with Lankinen and Delia.