For the second consecutive season, the Chicago Blackhawks made a trade with the Calgary Flames. This one may or may not have more of an impact than the first, when the Hawks acquired Brendan Morrison from the Flames.
The Hawks sent a seventh round pick, which was acquired from the Ottawa Senators in the deal that sent Rob Klinkhammer up there, to the Flames in exchange for goaltender Henrik Karlsson. The fact that this is the addition of a goaltender makes this an extremely intriguing deal.
It’s no secret that the Blackhawks are walking on thin ice (pun intended) with their situation between the pipes. Corey Crawford could very well bounce back and have a solid year, but regardless of what happens with him, Ray Emery is a liability. He looked terrible in his first start of the year, demonstrating the same problems that plagued him last year. Most notable among those problems is his incredibly slow pace moving around the crease.
Now the main reason for the addition of Karlsson is the suspension of Carter Hutton, who is likely going to sit a few games for his role in a recent brawl down with the Rockford Icehogs. So that explains that, right? Not so fast. While that’s the reason for this deal in the short term, it could mean that Emery’s job is in jeopardy behind Crawford.
Whether it’s Karlsson or Hutton that could get the call eventually remains to be seen. But Karlsson is a guy who could have a decent career as a backup goaltender. He’s a huge guy down in the crease, standing 6’6″, but he does generally lack experience at the top level. And he hasn’t been playing in the Flames’ minor league system at all this year.
In the immediate future, this is a trade that doesn’t have much impact on what the Hawks are doing. Crawford is the starter, Emery is the backup. But after what we saw on Sunday night from Emery, his job could be in danger within the next few weeks. This is a short season, and the backup is going to be relied upon to log some more minutes than he typically may be.
Which means that Emery needs to step his game up, or risk Karlsson or Hutton supplanting him on the end of the Blackhawks’ bench.