The Chicago Blackhawks have placed goaltender Jean-Francois Berube on waivers.
The 26 year old goaltender has struggled mightily this season with the Blackhawks, posting just two wins in 11 starts during starter Corey Crawford’s absence. Berube’s inflated 3.93 goals against average and .891 save percentage are amongst the worst in the entire NHL, so it’s not a big surprise to see him on waivers.
On the other hand, with Crawford out long-term and Berube on waivers, the only option in net for the Hawks here on out are Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass. Yikes.
Blackhawks fans get the worst possible news on injured Crawford
No doubt about it the Chicago Blackhawks have been one of the most disappointing teams during the 2017-18 NHL season. The team entered the season with the best Stanley Cup odds of any team in the league, but failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in a decade and sit dead last in the Central Division with a dreadful 31-36-10 record. The loss of key players like Marian Hossa, Artemi Panarin and Nicklas Hjalmarsson this past offseason proved to be too costly for the Hawks this season, but the loss of goaltender Corey Crawford to a head injury back in December may have been the biggest factor in the team’s downturn.
Crawford hasn’t played a game since December 23rd, 2017 and in fact has only taken the ice to practice a few times since. When Crawford went down just two days before Christmas, he had an outstanding 16-9-2 record, a 2.27 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. It’s clear that he’s been missed.
The troubling thing is, don’t count on him being back anytime soon… perhaps ever. While Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville has remained optimistic about a Crawford return at some point this season, the veteran coach has changed his tune as of late.
Just yesterday, Blackhawks insider Scott Powers wrote an article for The Athletic and dropped a bomb on Blackhawks fans: Crawford may never return.
In net, Crawford’s future is the biggest unknown. He hasn’t played a game since Dec. 23, and it’s unclear when he’ll be healthy enough to get on the ice again. For every step forward he’s taken in his recovery in recent months, it has seemed as if he's taken a step backward. At least publically, the Blackhawks remain optimistic about Crawford, but there are no definite answers about when he’ll be ready to play or whether he’ll be the same player.
Oh man… you have to feel for Crawford. The 33 year old goaltender is seemingly in the prime of his career, only to have things cut short by his own brain. And how about the Blackhawks? The proud franchise is arguably the closest thing fans have to a true Dynasty since the 90s Detroit Red Wings or the 80s Edmonton Oilers. But without Crawford in goal, do you really see this team qualifying for the playoffs next season? Fat chance. If Crawford is in fact done and is forced to call it a career, chances are the Blackhawks rebuild will follow.