The Chicago Blackhawks came into today as sellers and not buyers; a rare position for a franchise who spent much of the previous decade adding pieces for a Stanley Cup run. They had a few nice trade chips with defenseman Erik Gustafsson and a pair of veteran goaltenders in Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner.
The debate has been brewing for quite some time in Chicago about which goaltender do the Blackhawks move. Crawford? Lehner? Both? General manager Stan Bowman answered those questions by sending Lehner to the Vegas Golden Knights just before the deadline.
Golden Knights Get Stronger in Goal
Nearly an hour after the initial report by Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the details were finally revealed by his colleague, Chris Johnston. The Blackhawks are getting a second-round draft pick, goaltender Malcolm Subban and prospect Slava Demin in exchange for Lehner.
Demin was a fourth-round pick of the Golden Knights in 2018. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound, left-handed defenseman is currently a teammate of Blackhawks’ defensive prospect Ian Mitchell at the University of Denver. He is touted for his size and mobility.
Lehner has been great this season behind a poor defensive team in Chicago. He is 16-10-5 with a 3.01 goals-against average (GAA) and .918 save percentage (SV%). He has a knack for making the big highlight-reel save and bringing a lot of emotion and passion to the crease.
Lehner Gives DeBoer Options
The 28-year-old netminder won the William Jennings Trophy with the New York Islanders last season before signing a one-year, $5 million contract with the Blackhawks on July 1. He has played well enough to earn a long-term contract but was unable to come to an agreement on an extension in Chicago.
Lehner goes from one formable goaltending tandem in Chicago to possibly an even better one in Las Vegas. He will join Marc-Andre Fleury in the crease, who has been overworked this year. Subban has had issues staying healthy and has struggled with a 3.18 GAA and .890 SV% in the 19 games he has played in.
The addition of Lehner gives head coach Pete DeBoer the option of resting Fleury down the stretch while not losing much, if anything at all, behind the pipes. He can play the hot hand while the other veteran rests and even carry that formula into the postseason.
Stay updated on all of today’s moves with our 2020 Trade Deadline: Deal Tracker.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.