With the Chicago Blackhawks out of the playoff race, it feels like a good time to talk about the offseason. When it comes to free agency, one position where general manager (GM) Kyle Davidson will have to focus his attention is goaltending. Marc-Andre Fleury was traded before the deadline passed, while Kevin Lankinen is a pending unrestricted free agent (UFA). Thus, there are two spots that may need to be filled in net this summer. With Chicago rebuilding, they likely will not be bringing in too many big-name players this offseason. Yet, there are three UFA goaltenders who Davidson should still consider pursuing heavily. Let’s discuss each of them now.
The 2021-22 season has been a spectacular one for Ville Husso. He not only has proven that he is a legitimate NHL goaltender, but he also has been one of the league’s bests. In 35 appearances for the St. Louis Blues, he has a 22-6-5 record, 2.38 goals-against average (GAA) and .924 save percentage (SV%). With numbers like these, it’s fair to assume that the Blues would love to keep him around. Yet, with Jordan Binnington having a no-trade clause and being signed until the completion of the 2026-27 season, Husso’s time with St. Louis could be coming to a close.
If Husso does hit the open market, he is the perfect goaltender for the Blackhawks to consider. Even with the team rebuilding, he is still young enough that he could be their potential long-term starter. Although it took the 2014 fourth-round pick a long time to develop, he has officially arrived and still has plenty of time left in his prime, too.
When looking at the kind of season Husso has had, it’s important to note that he would not be the Blackhawks’ cheapest of options. However, if he can continue to perform this well from here, he would be worth every penny on a multi-year deal. Alas, if the Blues are not able to successfully re-sign the Finnish netminder, he should be Chicago’s primary target this summer.
Throughout his professional hockey career, Scott Wedgewood has primarily been an American Hockey League (AHL) goaltender. Although he has received occasional call-ups, he was never able to cement himself a permanent spot in the NHL. However, that has changed this season, as he is proving that he can succeed in the sport’s most competitive league. In 32 games between the New Jersey Devils, Arizona Coyotes, and Dallas Stars, he has a 12-14-4 record, 3.20 GAA, and .908 SV%.
Related: Top Teams Blackhawks Fans Should Cheer On in 2022 Playoffs
If Wedgewood can continue to play this well moving forward, he could be a solid short-term addition to the Blackhawks’ roster. If the team wants to play things more conservatively during their rebuild, he would be an intriguing offseason target. Although he is having the best season of his career, he is still not expected to make a lot of money on the open market. Thus, Chicago could give him an affordable, short-term deal. This is still the case whether they choose to re-sign Lankinen or not.
Wedgewood also could be very open to joining the Blackhawks when looking at their current goaltending situation. They are another team that would offer him the chance to stay at the NHL level. Thus, at the end of the day, there could be a very good match here between both parties.
The 2021-22 season is one that Joonas Korpisalo will want to forget. In 22 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets, he had a 7-11-0 record, 4.15 GAA, and .877 SV%. With that, his season is already over, as he elected to have surgery on his hip. With all of this, it would be understandable if Blackhawks fans would be against the idea of signing the 27-year-old. However, if he is capable of finding his previous form once he’s healthy, he is a goalie worth considering.
Korpisalo’s play during the 2019-20 season shows just how good he is capable of being when healthy. In 37 games with Columbus, he sported a 19-12-5 record, 2.60 GAA, and .911 SV%. With the Blackhawks rebuilding, they are in a position where they could be a perfect destination for the Finnish netminder to bounce back. After such a rough year, he will not be demanding much money on the open market, either.
The Blackhawks certainly should be looking at a goaltender like Korpisalo. If he bounces back, he would become a strong trade candidate for them as the 2022-23 season progresses. Before the trade deadline passed, there was interest around the league in the 27-year-old. This was still the case even with his disastrous campaign. Thus, if he’s better next season, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t be calling about him again.
Nevertheless, it will be very fun to see what the Blackhawks end up doing in goal this summer. Although they are just getting their rebuild started, this is a position where they still should focus on. If they want a long-term option, Husso is the perfect candidate. Yet, giving Wedgewood or Korpisalo a shot has the potential to benefit them, too.