Blackhawks plan on keeping Darling in the mix

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The Chicago Blackhawks wealth in goal has been well documented this season.

While starter Corey Crawford was sidelined both Antti Raanta and Scott Darling stepped in and proved to be NHL-ready netminders.

Raanta is 7-3-0 with a 1.87 G.A.A. and a .939 save percentage this season while Darling is 5-2-0 with a 1.97 G.A.A. and a .937 save percentage.

Darling has spent a bulk of the season in the American Hockey League with the Rockford IceHogs where he has an 11-6-2 record to go along with a 2.13 G.A.A. and a .931 save percentage.

“I think you need that,” general manager Stan Bowman told the Chicago Sun-Times. “If you look around the league, the majority of teams have used three goalies this year. There’s only a couple teams that are just going with their two.

“That’s an area we haven’t had a lot of depth in in the past, and we got through it. But in the future, we’d like to have three goalies that you know can play in the NHL. It’s worked out great this year, and even Michael Leighton’s been dynamite in Rockford, so we really have four goalies that could easily come and play on any night.”

With the trade deadline fast approaching and Darling a pending restricted free agent, Bowman has no intention to use Darling as an asset in a trade.

“He’s a Chicago kid, I know he wants to be with us,” Bowman said. “We’ll get that worked out. I think it’s nice to see that our hopes for him ended up playing out the way we had hoped.”

Leighton, a pending unrestricted free agent, is 3-0-2 with a 0.89 G.A.A. and a .974 save percentage this month with the IceHogs.