Skip to content

Even after Cup win, Crawford’s future in Chicago is cloudy

Aug 16, 2013, 2:44 PM EDT

Corey Crawford Getty Images

Corey Crawford finished the 2013 playoffs with a record of 16-7-2, a goals-against average of 1.84, and a save percentage of .932.

Oh, and 1.0 Stanley Cups hoisted over his head.

To say the 28-year-old proved his detractors wrong this past spring would be an understatement. Crawford only had one really poor outing, in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final when the Boston Bruins put five behind him. Fortunately for the Blackhawks, they got six behind Tuukka Rask that night.

After the Cup was won, the ‘Hawks were all but lining up to lavish praise on their goalie.

“He obviously took a lot of heat over the last couple of years. And all he’s done is just played unreal from start to finish this year,” defenseman Duncan Keith said. “I can’t say enough about him. The pressure on him, to do what he did was unbelievable.”

Of course, Antti Niemi was pretty good for the Blackhawks in 2010, and he ended up signing with the San Jose Sharks that summer. A salary cap can lead to tough choices for teams that spend to the max.

Which brings us back to Crawford, who has one year remaining on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent. Currently, his cap hit is around $2.7 million; barring injury or total meltdown next season, it will be going up with his new deal. The questions are: how much will it be going up? And, will the Blackhawks be the ones responsible for it?

Per CapGeek, Chicago already has over $56 million allocated to just 12 players in 2014-15. On top of that, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are pending UFAs in 2015-16. And with all due respect to Crawford, those two take priority.

On the other hand, there isn’t a sure-fire successor to Crawford in the system. The ‘Hawks recently signed veteran Nikolai Khabibulin to a one-year deal to replace backup Ray Emery, who went to Philadelphia in free agency.

Could Finnish free-agent signing Antti Raanta be the goalie of the future?

Raanta, 24, was named SM-liiga playoff MVP this season, capturing the Jari Kurri Trophy (Finland’s equivalent to the Conn Smythe) and while posting a 1.33 GAA and .955 save percentage for Assat, backstopping the club to the league championship.

“He had a great season,” said general manager Stan Bowman. “Hats off to him. I think we were very fortunate to get him. Our staff worked hard and had discussions with him and his agent. We tried to explain where we see him. We think he has a bright future, and now it’s just a matter of getting him acclimated to the North American style. We think he’ll do very well.”

It figures that Raanta is headed for the AHL to start the season, and he’s comfortable with that.

It also figures that how he performs with Rockford could have an impact on Crawford’s future with the club.

More Blackhawks day on PHT:

Pirri leads list of ‘Hawks prospects to watch

Second-line center spot up for grabs in Chicago

Latest Posts
  1. Siegenthaler signs entry-level contract with Caps

    Jul 31, 2015, 7:01 PM EDT

    Jonas Siegenthaler Getty Images

    The defenseman spent the 2014-15 campaign in the Swiss League.

  2. One month later, Mike Richards’ future remains murky

    Jul 31, 2015, 2:46 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers Getty Images

    There is a key deadline approaching though.

  3. Subban working out with former Olympian Ben Johnson

    Jul 31, 2015, 1:16 PM EDT

    P.K. Subban Getty Images

    Johnson won a gold medal in 1988, but it was taken away because of a positive steroids test.

  4. Quebecor seeks partners in Quebec City bid

    Jul 31, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT

    Calgary Flames v Ottawa Senators Getty Images

    There’s a $500 million expansion fee to consider.

  5. How do Voracek, Giroux compare to the most expensive duos?

    Jul 31, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Carolina Hurricanes v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

    Because once Voracek’s eight-year contract kicks in, they’ll be part of that list.

  6. Report: Further coaching hires expected for Sharks

    Jul 30, 2015, 10:27 PM EDT

    Peter DeBoer Getty Images

    Former NHL stars are among the list of likely candidates.

  7. Habs’ Galchenyuk inks two-year extension

    Jul 30, 2015, 7:52 PM EDT

    Alex Galchenyuk Getty Images

    The deal is reportedly worth $5.6 million.

  8. Flames prospect Kylington cleared to play in North America

    Jul 30, 2015, 7:11 PM EDT

    Oliver Kylington Getty Images

    At one point he was listed as the top European skater in the 2015 draft.

  9. Voracek turns monster season into massive eight-year deal

    Jul 30, 2015, 5:52 PM EDT

    Jakub Voracek Getty Images

    The Flyers also have forwards Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier locked up.

  10. Zubrus clears waivers, is ‘surprised’ by buyout

    Jul 30, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT

    Dainius Zubrus Getty Images

    The 37-year-old still wants to continue his career.

  11. Coyotes want long-term deal with Glendale

    Jul 30, 2015, 2:01 PM EDT

    PNI Coyotes Deal 0611 PNI Coyotes Deal 0611

    “Nobody benefits from a short-term deal like this, in particular, our hockey department.”

  12. Report: Canucks, Sutter closing in on five-year deal, north of $20M

    Jul 30, 2015, 1:15 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game One Getty Images

    Vancouver wasting little time locking up the target of Tuesday’s trade.

  13. Bruins in talks with veteran d-man Zidlicky

    Jul 30, 2015, 12:50 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Detroit Red Wings - Game Three Getty Images

    Boston could use some depth on its back end.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Stepan (2712)
  2. G. Bettman (1826)
  3. L. Couture (1712)
  4. A. Larsson (1686)
  5. J. Toews (1665)
  1. B. Holtby (1659)
  2. A. Chiasson (1503)
  3. M. Johansson (1368)
  4. A. Semin (1310)
  5. B. Gionta (1298)