Aug 16, 2013, 2:44 PM EDT
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:
Apr 20, 2014, 8:27 PM EDT
Classy gesture after 16 seasons with the Predators.
Apr 20, 2014, 7:32 PM EDT
Not exactly an ideal start for Anders Lindback.
Apr 20, 2014, 7:15 PM EDT
He stopped 31 out of 33 in Sunday’s win vs. the Rangers.
Apr 20, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT
Can the Bolts get back in this series?
Apr 20, 2014, 5:54 PM EDT
Milan Lucic scored a goal a game after that spearing incident.
Apr 20, 2014, 4:58 PM EDT
They are playing on opposite sides in the Detroit-Boston series.
Apr 20, 2014, 4:03 PM EDT
They’re down 2-0 to Montreal going into Game 3 tonight.
Apr 20, 2014, 3:12 PM EDT
The series is tied at 1-1.
Apr 20, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT
Chicago will have to find a way to get back into this series without one of its top defenseman.
Apr 20, 2014, 2:27 PM EDT
It’s the second part of NBC’s doubleheader.
Apr 20, 2014, 1:52 PM EDT
He stopped 30 shots on Saturday.
Apr 20, 2014, 1:11 PM EDT
Pittsburgh dropped Game 2 against Columbus.
Apr 20, 2014, 12:23 PM EDT
The Bruins are one of the most effective teams in the league with the man advantage.
Apr 20, 2014, 11:31 AM EDT
He was pulled late in Friday’s game.
Apr 20, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT
The contest will start at 12:00 p.m. ET.
Apr 20, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT
He has seven points in his first two playoff games.
Apr 20, 2014, 9:58 AM EDT
With a two-goal lead, Pittsburgh had four forwards on during a power play, which proved to be the turning point of this game.
Apr 20, 2014, 9:06 AM EDT
Meanwhile the Lightning are in a dangerous position.
Apr 20, 2014, 1:15 AM EDT
“You can’t defend on your heels,” Ryan Suter said.
Apr 20, 2014, 12:35 AM EDT
Colorado overcomes some strange officiating late in Game 2.
- WATCH LIVE: Tampa Bay Lightning at Montreal Canadiens (Game 3) 0
- Bruins handle Red Wings 4-1, tie series 1-1 28
- Flyers overcome two-goal deficit to finally win at MSG 51
- NHL suspends Seabrook three games for charging into Backes 82
- MacKinnon, Avs shine against Wild, take 2-0 series lead 23
- Video: Roenick says MacKinnon is more dominant at 18 than Crosby was 28
- Blue Jackets gain first-ever playoff win, tie series with Penguins 1-1 49
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) 136
- WATCH LIVE: Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins (Game 2) 4
- Blues come back to stun Blackhawks 4-3 in overtime, take 2-0 series lead 41
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) (136)
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind (116)
- Flyers want to ‘punish’ McDonagh (113)
- That’s a raise: Flyers sign MacDonald to six-year, $30 million extension (91)
- NHL suspends Seabrook three games for charging into Backes (82)