The Chicago Blackhawks appear to have lost arguably their most valuable player this season, at least for now.
According to an official announcement from the Blackhawks organization, star goaltender Robin Lehner has in fact been injured and it appears as though he may now miss time moving forward. Lehner was of course shaken up during Thursday's loss to the Vancouver Canucks, however the veteran goaltender opted to stay in the game and appeared to be ok. Now however the Blackhawks have confirmed that Lehner was held out of practice on Saturday due to his injury, and they have even called up another goaltender from the American Hockey League indicating to me that Lehner may be in the sidelines for a little bit.
The silver lining here of course for the Blackhawks is the fact that they have another very capable goaltender in their midst in the form of Corey Crawford, the organizations undisputed starter prior to the signing of Lehner. Although this is an unfortunate outcome for both Lehner and the Blackhawks it could provide a chance for Crawford to once again show that he is capable of being a consistent starter while Lehner heals up from his injury. It is a luxury that not many teams in the National Hockey League have and Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton acknowledged as much.
"It’s a nice benefit of having that," Colliton said as per NBC Sports. "We’ve got Corey ready to go. He hasn’t played much lately, so he’s going to be excited to get in."
Coming in as a potential replacement for Lehner moving forward will be 24 year old goaltender Kevin Lankinen. Lankinen has been called up from the Rockford IceHogs and will presumably be used exclusively as a backup while Crawford takes on the workload in Lehner's absence. Lankinen has appeared in 15 games for the IceHogs this season and boasts a 3.17 goals against average and a .905 save percentage so far. There is still no word on how long Lehner may be out for, Jeremy Colliton stated that Lehner was merely listed as day to day but also added that he was still being evaluated by team doctors.