Originally posted on Sports Mockery  |  Last updated 12/31/13
Goalie Depth – A Championship Pedigree The Chicago Blackhawks will get Corey Crawford back later this week which could cause a huge mix-up in their current goalie situation. Rookie Antti Raanta has, so far, proven he can win games at the NHL level, but the Chicago Blackhawks just gave Crawford some serious paper. So, GM Stan Bowman is going to have some decisions to make. If the Blackhawks Stanley Cup team from last year has taught fans anything it’s that having two above average goalies on the team plays a huge role in making a deep playoff push. Goalie depth is huge any year, but this year in particular, it will be gigantic due to the Olympics in February. There is a lot of stories out there on why Raanta should start over Crawford or the other way around and it usually tends to lead to a huge debate among fans, what isn’t really out there is that this will give the Blackhawks a platoon of good goaltending that should lead to a well rested Crawford going into the playoffs. Here are the numbers from this year (halfway through the season) and from last year (shorten due to strike): So, you can see Crawford only played 9 more games than Emery last year and then went on to have a fantastic playoffs that eventually lead to a Stanley Cup victory. Once again goalie depth is HUGE. What you can also see from those numbers is Crawford isn’t playing as well as he did last year and Raanta isn’t exactly crushing the league in GAA or SV%, both goalies need to improve. The main stat is the “Wins” which tells us that the Blackhawks defense is even better than last year and that should be very scary news to the rest of the league. Raanta seems to be getting better and better each game out there (with the occasional set backs; see St. Louis game) and recorded his first NHL shutout on Monday night versus a very good LA Kings team. Here is Raanta after the game (guy is quite the character…isn’t shy for a rookie). The Future Now, with Crawford coming back some people believe Raanta will be sent down so he can get valuable starts in Rockford…It is this author’s opinion that Raanta should stay up and the Blackhawks should do like last year and have an outstanding 1-2 punch at goalie. Raanta didn’t come to the Blackhawks off the back of a turnip truck, the kid has chops and was a very established goalie overseas. Antti Raanta on if he’d rather play every night in Rockford or be a backup for the #Blackhawks: “Every goalie wants to be in the NHL.” — Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) December 30, 2013 Every goalie wants to stay in the big show and Raanta is no different. Crawford This is Crawford’s team though. Crawford was the one to put up clutch game after clutch game during the Blackhawks Stanley Cup run last year. Yes, his numbers are down from last year, but the Blackhawks gave him a big contract, so it would be tough to move the netminder even though Raanta is younger and most likely cheaper. With the contracts of Toews and Kane up for renewal in a couple years GM Stan Bowman has some tough choices to make… “Bowman always seems to make the right call, both financially and hockey-wise, but this is far from a no brainer.  With every Raanta save and win, the decision becomes more difficult.” Quote from HERE Going back to a point made earlier, the Olympics might turn out to be a factor in this whole goalie equation. Crawford has proven he can elevate his game in big situations and he still believes he can make the Canadian Olympic roster. ‘‘I thought I played pretty good [before the injury],’’ he said. ‘‘Is the roster decided yet? There’s still time. They know what I can do.’’ Corey Crawford on Olympics from HERE If for some reason Crawford beats out Phoenix’s Mike Smith (over dramatic, cry baby) and gets that third goalie spot, it will be very important for the Blackhawks to have a guy like Raanta so that Crawford can get very valuable rest leading up to the playoffs. Wrap-Up Just want to repeat this….This is still Crawford’s team. Crawford is a proven goalie when it matters most, the playoffs. We are not saying that Raanta can’t be that playoff goaltender either, just that Crawford is the one who has been proven to be clutch in the NHL. The goalie depth the Blackhawks have, this year, should be a big factor in hopefully repeating as Stanley Cup champions. The future holds some very tough decisions for Stan Bowman, but for right now let’s just sit back and appreciate the first place Chicago Blackhawks. _______________ Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4 _______________ Sports Mockery is a leading provider of Chicago breaking sports news with prime focus on Chicago team sports. Sports Mockery offers a variety of news in addition to sports teams in Chicago and it is a must have for all Chicago sports fans. Sports Mockery offers: Chicago Breaking Sports News – Personalized Fantasy Advice – Sports Games and Contests to WIN FREE PRIZES – Unique Ability for our Fans to Write Professional Articles and Express their Opinion – MUCH MORE….. Sports Mockery was built with an emphasis on providing Chicago sports news, but more importantly to speak the voice of the FAN when it comes to Chicago team sports and other sports in Chicago. Send us a link or a picture you like and we’ll post it for the world to see, or create a login and post it yourself! Get involved. Sports Mockery – “Chicago Sports News and Entertainment” The post Goalie Depth – A Championship Pedigree appeared first on Sports Mockery.
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