Blackhawks Might Actually Be Looking For A Goaltender After All

By Randy Holt

The recent struggles of the Chicago Blackhawks are well-documented. They’re bad.

The team has had issues on both ends of the ice, with the more glaring issue obviously being on the blue line. Those issues on defense came to the forefront when they gave up odd man rush after odd man rush against the Colorado Avalanche in their 5-2 loss on Tuesday.

Yet, as much talk as there has been about acquiring a defenseman, which has already seen several names come and go on the trade rumor circuit, the Hawks might actually be looking at a goaltender prior to the deadline, as Darren Dreger has speculated.

As bad as the Blackhawks’ defense has been this season, their goaltending duo has shown an inability to bail them out, as they might have last season.

Corey Crawford has been a mess. His numbers are very poor on the season, and he’s already been pulled countless times in favor of Ray Emery. He’s trapped in a brutal sophomore slump and his confidence is at an all time low.

Emery has proven to be a very nice acquisition. He won the backup job out of training camp and earned a one-year deal with the Blackhawks. He’s provided at least some stability between the pipes, but was bad on Tuesday and might not be able to shoulder the load for a playoff run, from a physical standpoint.

As much as they’ve tried to deny it, you couldn’t blame the Blackhawks for at least looking at a goaltender out on the trade market. They might not get a guy like Tim Thomas or Ryan Miller, but there’s a veteran option playing out on Long Island.

When the Hawks swept the San Jose Sharks out of the postseason in 2009-2010, it was the last we would see longtime Sharks netminder Evgeni Nabokov in a San Jose sweater. These days, he mans the crease for the New York Islanders. And the Isles might just be getting ready to shop him, with his value sky high.

The Islanders still consider themselves in the hunt, so they’re not yet going into a full-blown selling mode. But Nabokov is one of a few goaltenders they have, and could fetch a decent return at this point.

With New York this season, Nabokov already has two shutouts, with the Hawks’ goaltenders failing to notch even one. His 12-12 record is not indicative of how well Nabokov has been playing. He’s got a 2.21 GAA on the season, and has only allowed more than three goals twice in his last 12 starts.

Whether or not the Blackhawks make a serious run at trying to pick up a goaltender, which would make sense, remains to be seen. But when sources like Dreger start talking, people listen. His name is one to watch as the trade deadline nears.

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