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Stan Bowman Speaks: Too Many Goalies? Dylan Strome and More

Chicago Blackhawks

Ahead of the Blackhawks and Avalanche dropping the puck on the 2021-22 NHL season, Chicago President of Hockey operations and General Manager Stan Bowman met with the Chicago media to talk about a number of topics leading into the first game of the season. Timely, right?

The Blackhawks had a trio of unproven goaltenders last season with Kevin Lankinen, Collin Delia, and Malcolm Subban. Following the emergence of Lankinen, it looked as if Delia and Subban would battle for the backup role this season. That was before the Blackhawks acquired Marc-André Fleury for nothing over the summer. After clearing waivers following training camp, both Delia and Subban are now with the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL with a logjam having been created in the Blackhawks farm system, already having Cale Morris and Arvid Söderblom projected to play with the IceHogs this season.

I would be surprised if the Blackhawks chose to carry three goaltenders on their NHL roster, given the amount of depth they have with their forwards and defensemen. It would be detrimental to the development of Söderblom and Morris to have both Delia and Subban in Rockford. There’s potential and a likelihood that one of the two end up traded or claimed this season if they move between the AHL and NHL.

With injuries on the blue-line to Caleb Jones and Wyatt Kalynuk in training camp, the Blackhawks found themselves “short-handed” defensively. Their solution to the injuries was to add Erik Gustafsson on a one-year deal, re-joining him with his former club. He’s just two seasons removed from his career-best year which he enjoyed with Chicago in 2018-19, but Gustafsson is who he is as a defenseman. Bowman explained why they added the 29-year-old off his PTO deal with the New York Islanders and had praise for the younger Jones brother.

I still feel like Gustafsson’s addition took away an opportunity from a player like Nicolas Beaudin or Jakob Galvas in the defensive rotation, but I do see the merit in not having a young player be scratched when they could be playing meaningful minutes in the AHL instead. But they couldn’t have found anyone besides Gustafsson? I guess not.

Finally, one of the biggest topics to hit the Blackhawks since the final rosters were announced is the status of Dylan Strome. A number of outlets have reported that the Blackhawks are listening to interest on Strome, but Bowman still believes there can be a place for Strome in Chicago.

I would not be surprised if Dylan Strome is traded this season, maybe before the month of October is over. Like Bowman says, with the addition of Tyler Johnson and the returns to health of Kirby Dach and Jonathan Toews, Strome didn’t have a good enough training camp to overcome the numbers game. With other guys who can play center and wing for the Blackhawks like Philipp Kurashev, Jujhar Khaira, Adam Gaudette, and Henrik Borgström to name a few, with Strome sitting in the press box to begin the year, it will be an uphill battle for him to get back into the lineup and stay there.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.