The Hawks made a decision regarding their shakey goaltending situation early Sunday morning. A move that really settled nothing, in the grand scheme of things. They re-signed Ray “Razor” Emery to a one year extension worth $1.15 million. I honestly have mixed feelings about this move. I like Ray Emery and I suggested that that Hawks look into him last summer, but he is limited in his potential. If the Hawks can kick Crawford in the ass and get him back to his 2010-2011 form, Emery is low risk solution to the backup question. The problem is that there is no guarantee that Crawford will rebound, and the goaltending depth in the system is thin, to put it lightly.
There are a couple of scenarios are possible, as far as the offseason, to help beef up the goaltending:
First of all, the Blackhawks could pickup a goalie in the draft. I have nothing to back this up, but I’ve seen it mentioned that the Hawks might be looking at someone like Russian goalie Andrei Vasilevski to fill some of their depth issues at the position. This is all good and well, but young goalies are RARELY NHL ready in less than 2 years. This could be the plan, but that leaves some holes for the near future. Alex Salak has fallen down the depth chart, because of a terrible year in Rockford, but can still rebound into a decent NHL player someday. Carter Hutton is a decent depth guy, at best. Nothing against the guy, but he was an ECHL guy that was discarded by the Sharks at the beginning of the season. The Chances that you’ll see Carter Hutton as the everyday backup to any Blackhawks goalie is slim. Which brings me to my second scenario.
The Hawks could bring in either a veteran or young unproved guy to compete with Crawford and Emery. They did this last year with Emery to compete with Crawford and Salak. Look how that turned out. The problem is that there isn’t really much out on the market. Josh Harding is good but might command Crawford money. Everyone else out there is a veteran. There are some good RFA guys out there, like Corey Schneider, Ondrej Pavelec, and Anders Lindback, but most of those teams are likely to match an offer. Lindback is a strong possibility to poach from Nashville. He is young, and a younger version of his teammate Pekka Rinne. Nashville is VERY tight on cash, with Ryan Suter becoming free agent. All purely just speculation, but good ideas.
The last scenario is that they could trade Emery, now that they own his rights. I’m sure there were a team or two calling Bowman about the availability of Emery at the trade deadline. With his experience as a backup, and in the playoffs, some teams no doubt would be interested. Even if the Hawks get a draft pick or two in return, that's not a bad deal. Again, just speculation, but food for thought.