The No. 1 priority for the Blackhawks this offseason is to re-sign Corey Crawford, but that doesn't mean they're not considering alternative options in case the two sides can't work out an extension.
According to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, the Blackhawks are among the group of teams that have checked in on Arizona Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper, who had a .928 save percentage and 16.7 goals saved above average in 29 starts this season.
Friedman notes in his 31 Thoughts column that Crawford and Chicago were originally "not seeing eye to eye on the dollar value of an extension." The Blackhawks reportedly offered Crawford a one-year deal worth $3.5 million.
The fact the Blackhawks are even sniffing around at a goaltender in Kuemper that has two years left on a contract that carries a $4.5 million indicates they'd be willing to pay that price to shore up the position. But it wouldn't make sense for the Blackhawks to give up assets to do so when they can just as easily give Crawford a similar-type deal.
This comes across as nothing more than the Blackhawks doing their due diligence. Even Crawford himself admitted during exit interviews in August that the process might take some time.
"I don't know how much is going to get done right away," Crawford said. "I assume things will happen closer to next season. So it's going to be a waiting game, I think. It's tough, especially with the cap. We have a lot of guys who need to be signed."