The Chicago Blackhawks have recalled goaltender Kevin Lankinen from the minor leagues under emergency conditions, as Robin Lehner is dealing with the flu. Lankinen will serve as the backup for Corey Crawford tonight when the Blackhawks take on the St. Louis Blues. Ian McCoshen has also been returned to the AHL. The team was already without Dylan Strome and Duncan Keith, but now Lehner and Andrew Shaw, who is undergoing further evaluation on an injury, will be out for the important matchup against the Blues. That’s a tough situation for any team, but especially one that has struggled so much and is trying to drag themselves out of the basement of the Western Conference.
Lankinen, 24, was signed by the Blackhawks in 2018 as an undrafted free agent and has just 33 professional appearances in North America. Eight of those have come with the Rockford IceHogs this season, where he has a .924 save percentage. The young Finnish goaltender is certainly not expected to take over a full-time role in Chicago this season, but perhaps the team will get a chance to see what he can do should Lehner’s illness last.
Shaw meanwhile would be another big loss for the team if he’s held out for any length of time. The 28-year old has been welcomed back into the Chicago organization after three seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, and has ten points and 33 penalty minutes through 26 games. The feisty forward set a career-high with 47 points last season (in just 63 games), but isn’t playing quite the same offensive role for the Blackhawks. Still, his physicality and agitation will be missed should he be held out.