Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson has long to-do list. At the top of it, finding a goalie.
Putting together a "to-do" list is something a lot of us do to stay organized.
Cut the grass. Clean out the gutters. Fix the leaky faucet.
In GM Kyle Davidson's case, his list must be a mile long when it comes to how he plans to clean up the monstrosity of a mess Stan Bowman left behind.
At the top has to be finding the Blackhawks a franchise goalie -- someone who can be trusted to man the pipes for a long time.
A word of warning, however: Don't expect the answer to come anytime soon.
Right now the Hawks don't have a goalie signed for next season and it's unknown if they'll re-sign Kevin Lankinen, who will be an unrestricted free agent. Lankinen, after a solid rookie campaign, went 8-15-6 with an .891 save percentage and 3.50 goals-against average this season. Those ghastly numbers aren't all his fault, but Lankinen definitely regressed and appears to be an NHL backup at this point.
With Collin Delia likely gone, that leaves a few other options for the Hawks to consider when next year rolls around.
One is Arvid Soderblom, who had a solid season in Rockford and made 33 saves Wednesday in the IceHogs' 2-1 Game 1 victory over Texas in the teams' best-of-three Calder Cup playoff series. The 22-year-old Soderblom is 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds and has impressed IceHogs coach Anders Sorensen.
"Preparation has been as good as I've seen at this level here (for) goalies," Sorensen said. "Overall just an impressive young man."
Soderblom spent the previous two seasons playing in Sweden.
"It's pretty impressive that he has been able to come over to North America and, in his first year, put (in) the type of performance he has," Davidson said.
The Hawks also just signed Jaxson Stauber (21-14-2, .921, 2.10 at Providence College) and continue to develop Drew Commesso, whom they took in the second round in 2020.
"There's a lot to be excited about in our prospect depth in net, which I don't think many people really talk about," Davidson said. "It's something I'm quietly really optimistic about."
The Hawks may also ink a free agent or make a trade, but that player would likely be a stopgap until one of the players above proves himself worthy of the gig full time.
Here are a few other odds and ends from this week's presser:
• Davidson wants the Hawks to play a "more up-tempo style of hockey" and will be on the lookout for players who can "drive that philosophy and style of play." Having said that, Davidson added it's "very unlikely" he will sign anyone to a long-term deal.
• Cap flexibility is of paramount importance to Davidson and he's loathe to take on a bad contract just to acquire a player or draft picks. "We have to be very smart and understanding what that could do to us moving forward. We don't want to be put in a corner because cap space goes so quickly and it's so hard to get that flexibility back. I don't want to give that up if it's not the right situation, and so we'll be mindful of that. ... We've been in a situation for so long that we've had (no flexibility)."
• Davidson hopes defenseman Seth Jones will shoot more and "be more of a threat" on the power play. Jones, who has just 4 power-play goals the last four seasons, admitted he sometimes got caught watching Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane try to find each other for one-timers. Jones did not score a PP goal for the Hawks.
• Former Hawks defenseman Brian Campbell has been at Davidson's side for much of the past few months, offering words of advice on myriad topics. Campbell does not have an official title, but that may soon change.
"Obviously, he played and then he came in as a player development coach, and then this year he's been my right-hand man all year while I was interim GM," Davidson said. "He's learned a lot and I think he's going to continue to develop. He's got a really bright future in hockey operations. We're lucky to have him."