Davidson expects clarity on goalie plan over next 24-48 hours originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
MONTREAL — Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson is open for business and working the phones ahead of the 2022 NHL Draft, which kicks off on Thursday in Montreal. And it's no secret he's looking to acquire a first-rounder, as long as the right deal presents itself.
It feels like the entire city of Chicago is on Alex DeBrincat Watch to see if the 24-year-old two-time 40-goal sniper will still be a member of the Blackhawks by the end of the week, although his days could be numbered regardless.
But there's another potential storyline to follow going into Thursday. The Blackhawks might have some more clarity on their goaltending situation for next season after Friday, and Davidson mentioned as much in his pre-draft media availability late Wednesday afternoon.
"A couple options, a few different ways," Davidson said. "I think that's something that we'll really get a much better handle on in the next 24, 48 hours on what direction we're going to go, but a couple options, yeah."
The Blackhawks don't have an NHL goaltender under contract for next season, with Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen set to become unrestricted free agents. Arvid Soderblom and Jaxson Stauber are the only two netminders signed through next season, but neither of them are ready to be full-time NHL starters yet and need more seasoning at the AHL level.
If Davidson expects to have a better handle on the goaltending situation by the end of the NHL Draft, don't be surprised if he looks to acquire somebody that a team is trying to move out for salary cap reasons. The Blackhawks are — and should be — willing to take on salary if it means acquiring future assets in some form.
For example, the Toronto Maple Leafs are on the prowl for a No. 1 goaltender and desperately need to unload Petr Mrazek's salary — a $3.8 million cap hit for two more seasons — to free up money to sign one. They placed him on waivers on trade deadline day, which further indicates their desire to move on from him. The Blackhawks could be a match with Toronto when it comes to a potential Mrazek trade, although it should be noted that the 30-year-old goaltender has 10-team no-trade list and it's unclear where Chicago might fall in that regard.
If a trade for a goaltender doesn't happen before the end of the draft on Friday, it then gives Davidson an opportunity to shift his full attention to the free-agent class.
It might be a painful next couple of seasons for the Blackhawks, and it would be wise of them to find a veteran-type starter to shoulder the load during those trying times. No point in using next season as a developmental year for young goaltenders.
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