As of right now, it looks like Corey Crawford is slowly but surely regaining his form from 2010-11 for the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s been very good in the big moments and is building confidence. He is the starter for the foreseeable future.
But the Hawks don’t have a backup plan. Ray Emery was awful in his first performance of the season last weekend, and I’d imagine the coaching staff is a bit apprehensive about putting him in. If Crawford should falter, he’s obviously not going to be an answer between the pipes.
The Blackhawks also traded for goaltender Henrik Karlsson early this week. He’s a big body in net who could end up being a solid backup at some point. But right now he’s nothing more than depth down in Rockford. At least until Emery proves himself to be completely useless.
Which is why it would still make sense for the Blackhawks to pursue other goaltending options, so they have someone that can step in as a capable backup and replace Crawford if he falls back into his 2011-12 struggles. If the team does choose to go that route, Ben Bishop could be a very nice fit.
The Ottawa Senators have a wealth of goaltending. Former Hawk Craig Anderson is the unquestioned starter right now, and Robin Lehner looks like the future between the pipes, which leaves little room for a guy like Bishop. He’s seen as expendable and could be the cheaper option among the goaltenders available on the trade market.
We haven’t seen much of Bishop at the NHL level, as he’s made just 17 starts, but he has the makings of a very capable goaltender. He’s huge in the crease, standing 6’7″ and posted decent numbers after he was traded to Ottawa last season, where he saw the most action in his career. He’s big and he’s quick. He’s just plain tough to score on.
The Blackhawks pursuing him would make sense on a couple of different levels. First is the obvious settling of their goaltending situation behind Crawford and in an emergency situation. The second is that Bishop just turned 26. He could be around for a couple of years.
Will the Hawks call on Bishop? Potentially. Whether or not they make an actual move and try to acquire him remains to be seen. But it would make sense and could be very favorable for them, depending on the type of return that Ottawa may ask for.