Lars Johansson

Report: Blackhawks Close To Adding A Goaltender

According to reports, the Blackhawks are close to signing the Swedish Hockey League’s Goaltender of the Year.

Lars Johansson, an undrafted free agent who turns 29 in July, had a phenomenal campaign in which he recorded a .927 save percentage and league-leading 1.74 goals-against average in 37 games with Frölunda HC. His 27-6 record included an impressive seven shutouts.

Current Blackhawks defenseman Erik Gustafsson played with Johansson for Frölunda during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.

The Blackhawks need to add some organizational depth at the position this summer. Michael Leighton, who was the primary starter in Rockford during the 2015-16 season, is an unrestricted free agent. And Drew MacIntyre, who was acquired during the season, has reportedly already left for Europe.

30 thoughts on “Report: Blackhawks Close To Adding A Goaltender

  1. Cant keep trotting Leighton out there, cant rely on Mac Carruth. Nothing with taking a flyer on a guy with potential. If he is Raanta then its a good move.

  2. Can Morin play goalie? He’s a restricted free agent and will likely be unrestricted as San Jose will not tender him.

  3. Speaking of spare forwards of yesteryear gone by the wayside, Q is on record stating the Hawks’ problem wasn’t the ‘D’, but instead the inability to roll four lines. Many of us agree Q, whose at fault for that? Do any of us on this blog have any input w/ your line up decisions, and more specifically and importantly w/ your in-game decisions to bench lower tier forwards and triple shift others?

    Instead of sticking w Weise & Fleischman and letting them get consistent playing time once they arrived, Q turned it into bottom six forward roulette. He did the same thing in ’14, that was more on Bowman for lack of depth; this time, however, the blame solely sits w/ Q.

    Zero consistency w/ the lines, this is on the coach. These are the facts. Q is a player’s coach, but he dropped the ball — again, 2x in 3 yrs. Arguably, the Hawks could be positioned for four Cups in a row. The goaltending in the playoffs — teams remaining — has been average at best. Every gaolie/team has issues — Dallas (ha ha ha), Elliot pulled tonight, tons of goals in San Jose Nshvl series; the East is not much better, Bishop is the best goalie left.

    Any thoughts or consideration whatsoever to trading Crawford are absurd. If Q had rolled four lines, the Hawks wouldn’t have been so reliant on Crawford. All this being said, winning the Cup every other year works for me if Q has his head on straight in alternate years.

  4. In addition to Iceman’s comments, we never saw enough of Fleischman to see if he was worth keeping next year.

  5. Iceman, I heard a rumor that Morin was coming back to the Hawks next year as a bench coach.

  6. Q does make some goofy decisions. I agree that his performance this year was not very good. But I also blame Bowman. He essentially traded Oduya for Daley, who was a poor fit. The Sharp trade was a disaster and that is on Bowman.

  7. After the off (14) seasons, during the 1st 40 games and on in 13 and 15 (a little bit), Q had a pissed and determined look. (how long leash/decisions) He responded. Q and Bowman are proud and very good. I have a feeling they will respond, again. The guys are going to have 4 mths of training (not 2 max) and this will go a long way for next season and the coming yrs.

  8. Stan sure provided Q with a lot of options to try to mix and match and find the right ingredients. And the fact Stan was “all in” at the deadline speaks volumes.

    It has to just kill McDonough that the UC is dark in May and that St. Louis, Dallas and Nashville are still playing.

    Bowman has a lot on his plate yet again. It’s a real trick/conundrum, how to make the roster better while at the same time, trimming payroll.

    It will be interesting if Bowman can make a hockey trade at the draft, to acquire a true number 4 defenseman. Very true that Oduya was never replaced.

  9. I say Stan should put only 12 forwards on the roster, and tell Q deal with it, and one of them would not be Mashinter.

  10. Why didn’t Daley fit? Was he really given a chance? Q gives you a short time to prove yourself and then you’re stuck in his doghouse. Don’t you think if the they kept Daley and Johns the Hawks might still be playing?

  11. Remember when Bowman traded Brian Campbell for Rusty Olesz? That was a salary dump.

    When Bowman moved Patrick Sharp without retaining any salary, it was almost has hard as getting someone to take Campbell’s deal off the books. As we wrote about earlier this offseason, Daley got minutes early this year and didn’t do anything to impress; it’s actually kinda funny that people watch him in Pittsburgh’s system and now cry that he was never given a shot in Chicago when there was rejoicing in the streets when Bowman moved him.

    If there’s anything worth continued tears from that deal it’s that Stephen Johns is the defenseman the Blackhawks desperately need – and had. But you have to move something to make a deal happen, and the Hawks traded him away. On to the next…

  12. Hawks outscored STL 18-17 in 7 games, losing all 4 games by a single goal. I think keeping Oduya may have made the difference. Bowman would have been better off giving Sharp away for only a fifth round draft choice, keeping Johns, re-signing Oduya with Daley’s money, and using the salary cap savings to either re-sign Saad or save it for a rainy day trade like Ladd. Instead, Bowman basically got nothing: the loss of Sharp, Saad, Oduya, Johns, and later Daley, Scuderi and Garbutt. Bowman reportedly asked for the sky–1st round pick, top-six forward on an entry-level contract, and a grade A prospect. GMs laughed, waited knowing Bowman was in a salary-cap bind, and then fleeced him. Arguably it cost us the season. But Bowman did bring us three Cups, can’t complain too much….

  13. @ Tab

    There are several differences between the Campbell dump and Sharp trade. 1st and foremost is wasn’t just the awful trade, it was where he went and the domino of moves that coincided. Not only did they lose Sharp(good riddance) and your best defensive prospect to a division team but then you immediately lost your forth defenseman to the same team. Not to mention the garbage coming back is still on the books in limit capacity. Oh and now that team is 1 win away from the western finals and the Hawks are at home not playing. The Campbell trade was fine because the Hawks young core was still growing, now that core is ready for retirement. Stan has done very little to replace a stocked roster with younger pieces. The Western Conf has gotten younger and more skilled and the Hawks keep riding their tired old horses over and over. This is a new west, the Ducks are done, the Kings might need a new coach and the Hawks are golfing!
    The Hawks better hope their big 3 on defense doesn’t get hurt otherwise they are a flipping lottery team. Trades like the Sharp trade can set teams back for seasons. Hell look at the Wild who dealt Burns to the Sharks for Devin setoguchi and Coyle.

  14. To say that Sharps trade was anything less then a cluster F at this moment is extremely optimistic

  15. Scot, You have it wrong, if you think that S.B brought you three cups. It was D. Talon and Sr. Bowman. It was S.B that dropped the ball on the salaries that started the crunch (Rocky let him). The core players plus are all D.T. & Sr.B. players. S.B. found what two Russians plus? S.B. really over paid two-four great players and now the team is paying.

  16. Couple responses to SSHM:

    1) Oduya wasn’t coming back, and it didn’t matter if Sharp was dealt or not. The Hawks didn’t have the money for him and, in theory, they were going to try to replace him. And part of unrestricted free agency is that the team that used to hold the rights to a player have no say in where he lands. Oduya signed w/ DAL 5 days after the Sharp trade. Can’t control that.

    2) Let’s not make Dallas being in a Game 7 for a shot at a conference final all about Sharp & Oduya. They rode Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn to the division crown and have a much deeper blue line than just Oduya & Johns. The Blackhawks didn’t hand deliver Klingberg or Gologoski down there. Give Nill some credit for being a tremendous hockey mind – they didn’t give him enough credit in Detroit until he was gone.

    3) re: the perception that the West is getting “younger” – the team that are indeed younger are Winnipeg, Arizona, Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary and Colorado. None of them qualified this year. None of them have won the Cup three times in six seasons. And all of them are looking for experience to help guide their kids to the next level. Want the formula for the next generation? Go look at what Tallon did in Florida with Campbell and Willie Mitchell and Jagr mixing in with high draft picks.

    I have no idea how you derived a “new West” out of St. Louis, Dallas and San Jose being three of the four teams left standing. By your logic, San Jose should have been in the showers 2 months ago…

  17. Wrong, Toot. A couple of the core players are Mike Smith picks, namely Keith and Seabrook, plus Crawford. Doesn’t say much when a GM takes Jack skille in the 1st round in 2005 when Kopitar and Oshie were still available.

  18. J Ross – did not like the trade of Raanta when it happened and agree we did not get enough for him.

    Iceman – great write up. 3 cup Q should have had 4 for sure and maybe 5.

    I’m going to reiterate what I’ve previously written. If SB makes trades to get cap compliant and just fills holes again this year, I believe we will be closer to being a lottery team than we think. I believe you have to keep 50% of your core and package core players such as Seabrook, Crawford, and maybe even Kane (if Edmonton can trade Gretzky, anyone is fair game) with other players on the team to retool on the run. You can surround the remaining core with the likes of Taylor Hall or some youngsters from the Oilers, Leafs, and Sabres and also restock some draft picks for coming years. And, we may end up with more cap flexibility. I believe drastic action is needed to prolong the run we’re on otherwise the entire team ages at the same time to the point of mediocrity.

    Go Hawks!!!

  19. Toot,

    You are wrong. Bowman “found what two Russians?” Do you even know Hawk hockey? The 2013 and 2015 teams were Bowman’s teams, period. Bowman made the correct decision in 2010 to match San Jose’s offer to Hjalmars and let Niemi go, not Tallon. Bowman made the right call to go with Crow (and Turco) when he was untested and unpolished, not Tallon. The Hawks don’t win in ’13 and ’15 without Saad, Shaw, Oduya, Teuvo, Vermette, Frolik, TVR, Desjardins, and Darling. Hawks get bounced in the first round against NSH without Darling, all on a bargain basement cap of $0.5 million.

    Bowman kept Tallon’s core together, no small feat given the game’s tight salary cap. Even Rozsival took the OT shot that won Game 1 of the 2013 SCF. Vermette, a trade deadline pickup, had three playoff game winners in 2015. Teuvo won the game and the belt in ’15’s SCF Game 1. Steeger won the belt in Game 5. Oduya tied up SCF Game 1 in 2013 and took the shot that won it in Game 6 (Frolik on the tip). Shaw and Saad have so many playoff winners and impact plays there isn’t space to print them. The Tallon core was a necessary but insufficient condition for winning the Cups. Bowman’s supporting cast was indispensable in bringing home the silver for the last two. That’s a helluva lot more than “two Russians.” And Keith and Seabrook were drafted under GM Mike Smith, not Tallon. Get your facts straight, Toot.

    And, as should be clear from my original post, I am not a big Bowman fan. He has made some big mistakes: Sharpie trade, Bickell signing, etc.

  20. Tab,

    Oduya waited till the last minute to sign, holding out hope that the Hawks would find the cap space to sign him. The Hawks don’t take Daley from Dallas in the Sharp trade and they have the money to pay Oduya. Daley’s cap hit was 100K more than Oduya’s, and Johnny likely would have taken another $100K less to stay. Daley was a terrible match for the Hawks. He had the worst Corsi on Dallas that year and his more than 14% shooting percentage on his 16 goals was unearthly and unsustainable, even for a Patrick Kane. Oduya was a stay-at-home D-man who not only understood but excelled at our system. And anybody could have figured out where Oduya was going to go after leaving. Dallas had the cap space with Daley’s departure and he was following Sharpie. My guess is the loss of Oduya easily cost us 4 points in the standings, given the fiasco of rotating Rozy and Scuds and throwing Sveds to the lions. That’s the difference between home and road ice in the playoffs and perhaps even the needed goal to win in one of our four STL losses.

  21. Once again Stan will be tasked to make trades .In my opinion , Stan should do this as early as possible .Due to the SALARY CAP ISSUES he will not be dealing from a position of strength .The closer he waits to the trade dead line the more the other GMs will ask for and if he doesn’t get good returns or if the Hawks don’t win the cup, it wiil be de javu all over again.

  22. They lost 4 1 goal games against a very good team, in a retooling year after riding 3 exhausted defensemen to the cup last year. They just didn’t get it done, but were extremely close.

    Bowman and Q were not on the same page on 1 crucial move. I don’t get the Fleischman and Weise trade if they weren’t going to get a shot to gel. We also lost a serviceable, real, full time C. I hate that trade. All things considered, how close the Hawks were, I think that was the event that took this team out out of the playoffs. The sheer number of new players taken on at the trade deadline shook the foundation of the team just a little too much to get a hot streak going. Damn it.

    Can’t fault a guy who’s willing to make moves to win, can’t fault the Saad or Sharp trades, can’t fault Oduya seeking more money than Hawks could pay. those obstacles were overcome. On to next year with 2 more months of rest, and what I feel is a promising youth movement on the blue line. Most of the good D in the league were once merely adequate, and I think we’re going to see TVR and Gus take a step up. If SB can acquire an honest to goodness C, and TT can become at the very least an offensive threat again, the role players on this team won’t matter much, they’ll be good enough to win again.

  23. Tab/Scott- Gotta agree w/ Scott here… Oduya, waited for Hawks … and $$$ were there and doable… also- the whole idea- that SB/Sharp trade had no other options??? I think is garbage…

    SB – thought Hawks were getting “the deal”/UPGRADE w/ Daley being younger/cheaper/more Offense… Right now!!! SB was WRONG!!! Period

    SB – gambled and lost… and I am guessing here… SB signing an older… “Ready now” goalie from Sweden…. Bowman- is giving Hawks Options this summer on who he trades (cuz he cannot gamble and lose again)… I don’t think Crow is on the top of trade List… BUT- SB Might get the “best deal/value” when considering $$$, return, and other RFA’s that will be needing Big $$$ soon (#72)… so do you sell Crow at his peak??? Might be SB’s best option.

    To me this is similar to what I alluded to last year… looking at Bolts soon to be Big Cap problems… If I am GM… I let Stamkos walk (actually I would have traded him last summer)… Kucherov/Hedman/others are more Important and cheaper than the $9-$11M that Stamkos is going to expect!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *