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. Trotz says goodbye to Nashville with full-page ad in newspaper

    Apr 20, 2014, 8:27 PM EDT

    Barry Trotz Getty Images

    Classy gesture after 16 seasons with the Predators.

  2. Video: Habs take 1-0 lead in just 11 seconds

    Apr 20, 2014, 7:32 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    Not exactly an ideal start for Anders Lindback.

  3. Emery states case to remain in Flyers’ net (if Mason can play in Game 3)

    Apr 20, 2014, 7:15 PM EDT

    Philadelphia Flyers v New York Rangers - Game Two Getty Images

    He stopped 31 out of 33 in Sunday’s win vs. the Rangers.

  4. Bruins handle Red Wings 4-1, tie series 1-1

    Apr 20, 2014, 5:54 PM EDT

    Justin Florek, Tomas Tatar AP

    Milan Lucic scored a goal a game after that spearing incident.

  5. Sibling rivalry: Reilly Smith scores, Brendan challenges Chara

    Apr 20, 2014, 4:58 PM EDT

    Smith Chara

    They are playing on opposite sides in the Detroit-Boston series.

  6. Lightning coach: Everyone’s written us off, so we have nothing to lose

    Apr 20, 2014, 4:03 PM EDT

    Jon Cooper AP

    They’re down 2-0 to Montreal going into Game 3 tonight.

  7. NHL suspends Seabrook three games for charging into Backes

    Apr 20, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Seabrook hit

    Chicago will have to find a way to get back into this series without one of its top defenseman.

  8. WATCH LIVE: Detroit Red Wings at Boston Bruins (Game 2)

    Apr 20, 2014, 2:27 PM EDT

    Tuukka Rask AP

    It’s the second part of NBC’s doubleheader.

  9. Penguins’ Martin: Sometimes we’ve lacked desperation

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:11 PM EDT

    PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 03: Paul Martin #7 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the Ottawa Senators during the game at Consol Energy Center on February 3, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Pittsburgh dropped Game 2 against Columbus.

  10. Red Wings focus on staying out of penalty box

    Apr 20, 2014, 12:23 PM EDT

    Zdeno Chara, Justin Abdelkader Zdeno Chara, Justin Abdelkader

    The Bruins are one of the most effective teams in the league with the man advantage.

  11. Tampa Bay will stick with goalie Lindback

    Apr 20, 2014, 11:31 AM EDT

    Anders Lindback AP

    He was pulled late in Friday’s game.

  12. WATCH LIVE: Philadelphia Flyers at New York Rangers (Game 2)

    Apr 20, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    Derek Stepan AP

    The contest will start at 12:00 p.m. ET.

  13. MacKinnon is tying/breaking records with hot start

    Apr 20, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT

    Nathan MacKinnon Getty Images

    He has seven points in his first two playoff games.

  14. Pittsburgh columnist: Penguins’ narcissism, arrogance led to Game 2 defeat

    Apr 20, 2014, 9:58 AM EDT

    Marc-Andre Fleury, Matt Calvert AP

    With a two-goal lead, Pittsburgh had four forwards on during a power play, which proved to be the turning point of this game.

  15. Wild focus on handling Avs’ speed

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:15 AM EDT

    Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche - Game Two Getty Images

    “You can’t defend on your heels,” Ryan Suter said.

  16. MacKinnon, Avs shine against Wild, take 2-0 series lead

    Apr 20, 2014, 12:35 AM EDT

    Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche - Game Two Getty Images

    Colorado overcomes some strange officiating late in Game 2.

Featured video

Detroit must exploit Boston's young D
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. T. Oshie (4557)
  2. M. Duchene (3976)
  3. E. Malkin (3449)
  4. B. Bishop (3206)
  5. D. Backes (3013)
  1. H. Zetterberg (2777)
  2. O. Palat (2696)
  3. S. Mason (2532)
  4. R. Getzlaf (2502)
  5. V. Tarasenko (2467)