The most important question for the Chicago Blackhawks' short-term future is what will be starting goalie Corey Crawford's status going into the 2018-19 season...
The goaltending situation in Chicago was a complete mess this past season and Crawford’s injury was one of the main reasons the Hawks missed out on the postseason for the first time in 11 seasons.
It all started when Crawford got injured at the end of December. He missed the final 47 games of the campaign with a head injury. It ended up being a season-ending injury and it was a shame since Crawford had the second-best save percentage in the NHL among No. 1 goalies at .929.
For the second half of the season, the Hawks needed to put their trust in many netminders, including , Anton Forsberg, Jeff Glass, J-F Berube, Collin Delia and Scott Foster, who combined to post a .901 save percentage.
On Thursday in Dallas, as the Blackhawks got ready for the NHL entry draft, general manager Stan Bowman commented on Crawford's situation and recovering, and his first statement sounded quite concerning for the die-hard Hawks fans, as reported by Mark Lazerus, Hawks insider for the Chicago Sun Times.
"I don't really have an update. ... We expect Corey to be back. We don't have any reason to think that's not going to happen."
Possibly realizing his comments did not sound as promising as he might have wanted them to be, Bowman then added that Crawford is expected to return in time for the team's training camp in September.
"Nothing has changed. We expect him to be back and ready to go in training camp."
“There’s no gag order. We handle Corey’s situation as we’ve handled every other player. We never go into specifics on injuries.”
Bowman also said the the Hawks are looking improve their No. 2 goalie situation, which could be an insurance factor in case Crawford is not back to normal...
"We’ll have some discussions to see if we can improve in that area. It’s too early to tell if we can. "
Crawford is now 33 and is signed for two more years with a cap hit of $6 million per season. Let's hope the Hawks can trust him to get better and move forward with their No. 1 goalie to become a Cup contender once again.