A week before the season, the Blackhawks’ goaltending situation remains up in the air

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 18: Zac Dalpe (29) of the Columbus Blue Jackets scores on Cam Ward (30) of the Chicago Blackhawks in the first period of a game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Chicago Blackhawks on September 18, 2018 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH. (Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – It’s getting closer to a year since he last played for the Blackhawks, and still there is no set timeline for a return.

Corey Crawford has been on the ice for the Blackhawks before training camp practices and has even taken a few shots on goal from teammates. Yet he along with the team are taking a cautious approach to his recovery after a concussion suffered in December of 2017, hence there still isn’t much clarity as to when he’ll return.

Speaking with reporters this past week, head coach Joel Quenneville thought  “it might be a stretching it” to think that Crawford would be ready for the team’s October 4th opener at Ottawa. With the delicate nature of concussion recovery, don’t expect the Blackhawks to rush him back to the ice.

So who does get the net for the opener against the Senators then?

The main competitors figure to be last year’s main backup Anton Forsberg and free agent pickup Cam Ward. The latter didn’t leave that great of an impression on the team in his last effort against the Red Wings on Monday, allowing a goal just 16 seconds into the game and then allowing five more over the next two periods. He let in six of the 17 shots he faced and was replaced by Forsberg in the third, where he allowed two goals in eight shots in an 8-6 loss.

Forsberg will get the start tonight as the Blackhawks face Ottawa in their second-to-last preseason game this evening, which will be his third time on the ice this preseason. In the second contest against Detroit, he allowed one goal on 14 shots in just under a half-game of work.

Perhaps Collin Delia could play his way into a spot in the rotation after making his NHL debut during the 2017-2018 season. He allowed two goals on 16 shots in the opening preseason game at Columbus and had a similar performance against Ottawa last Friday, stopping 17-of-19 shots in a 5-2 victory.

All of these goalies are options for Quenneville as he waits to see when one of the faces of the Blackhawks is ready to return to the net.