The Chicago Blackhawks, who have their Nos. 1 and 2 goaltenders working through injuries, bolstered their depth at that position on Saturday.
The Blackhawks acquired goaltender Jason LaBarbera from the Edmonton Oilers today, in exchange for future considerations. LaBarbera will be assigned to the Rockford IceHogs.
Corey Crawford suffered a lower-body injury, likely a groin injury, last week against the Florida Panthers. The Blackhawks were already missing backup goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, who suffered a lower-body injury of his own on Nov. 16. Crawford is improving, according to coach Joel Quenneville, and the Blackhawks will reassess him this coming week. He’s still on the 2-3 week schedule of recovery. Khabibulin, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to be making much progress; Quenneville said he’s not ready to skate yet.
Antti Raanta has started every game for the Blackhawks since Crawford was hurt, and he’ll start again tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Raanta is 5-0-1 with a 2.12 goals-against average and .926 save percentage. Kent Simpson was recalled last week as the Blackhawks’ backup.
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Stan Bowman was asked on Tuesday night if he planned to see what goaltending options were available. At the time he hadn’t talked to other teams but said the team would discuss things at its pro scouting meetings the next day.
“You’re always looking ot upgrade or help your team out, but it’s pretty early,” Bowman said on Tuesday. “(Crawford’s injury) is not going to be a long-term thing, which is good news. It’s a wait-and-see approach. We’ll assess, see what our options are, and go from there.”
The 33-year-old LaBarbera has played seven games for the Oilers this season, recording a 1-3-0 mark with a 3.28 GAA (.870 save percentage). He’s also 0-1-1 (1.93 GAA and .953 save percentage) in two games with the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League. LaBarbera has played in 182 career NHL games with the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, Phoenix Coyotes and Oilers.