Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Nikolai Khabibulin needs to improve his play to keep his roster spot.
Last season, both Corey Crawford and backup Ray Emery were stellar in net. In the playoffs, Crawford somehow managed to be even better. The only player other than Patrick Kane that could've won the Conn Smythe Trophy was Crawford.
This season, Crawford's production has been down. His stats aren't way worse, but his inconsistency is cause for concern. His goals-against average this season is 2.31 and his save percentage sits at .914, down from 1.94 and .926 a year ago.
Far more concerning is the play from backup goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. The former fan favorite has been abysmal in net thus far, giving up 4.74 goals per game and saving only 81.8 percent of the shots that he's faced.
If those numbers don't come way down and fast, Blackhawks management has a serious decision to make.
As a team, the Blackhawks can't afford to not have a reliable backup. If Khabibulin continues to struggle, the team will likely cut him loose.
If Khabibulin is released, the Blackhawks will have to reach into the minor leagues and call up a talented Antti Raanta. At this point, calling up Raanta may be the best decision for a team that needs an insurance policy in case of injury to Crawford.
Khabibulin's days in Chicago might be numbered.