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. Toews: We’re ready for this challenge

    May 26, 2015, 1:13 AM EDT

    Jonathan Toews Getty Images

    Monday’s tough loss hasn’t weakened his resolve.

  2. Ducks win crazy Game 5, push ‘Hawks to edge of elimination

    May 26, 2015, 12:21 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Matt Beleskey scored the game winner after initially losing his second line spot.

  3. Shocked Ducks: Toews forces OT with two goals in final two minutes

    May 26, 2015, 12:03 AM EDT

    Toews goal

    Chicago was trailing for most of the game.

  4. Oilers prospect Draisaitl helps lead Kelowna over Rimouski in Memorial Cup

    May 25, 2015, 10:57 PM EDT

    Leon Draisaitl Getty Images

    Maple Leafs prospect Frederik Gauthier had a big game too.

  5. Video: Getzlaf ties Ducks’ playoff points record

    May 25, 2015, 10:11 PM EDT

    Vatanen goal

    The first period was all Anaheim.

  6. Video: Ducks score twice in 32 seconds early in first period

    May 25, 2015, 9:42 PM EDT

    Kesler goal

    The Ducks got off to an ideal start.

  7. Report: Andrei Kostitsyn interested in returning to NHL

    May 25, 2015, 7:25 PM EDT

    Belarus v Slovenia - 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Getty Images

    He was linked to Nashville’s playoff curfew incident.

  8. Mrazek knows ‘only one goalie can play’ as battle with Howard awaits

    May 25, 2015, 5:43 PM EDT

    Florida Panthers v Detroit Red Wings Getty Images

    There’s going to be a fight for the No. 1 gig in Detroit.

  9. Graham James reportedly facing new charge of sexual assault

    May 25, 2015, 4:41 PM EDT

    Graham James AP

    Reports out of Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

  10. In the playoffs, sometimes it comes down to the ‘bounces’

    May 25, 2015, 3:31 PM EDT

    Antoine Vermette, Frederik Andersen AP

    “One bounce here or there, it’s a different story.”

  11. Leafs sign Carrick to one-year extension

    May 25, 2015, 2:10 PM EDT

    J.T. Brown; Sam Carrick J.T. Brown; Sam Carrick

    Made his NHL debut last season, appearing in 16 games.

  12. Now feels like a good time to debate Stamkos’ next contract

    May 25, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers - Game Five Getty Images

    He’s eligible to sign an extension this summer.

  13. Swiss league ‘perfect training ground’ for Matthews, says coach Crawford

    May 25, 2015, 12:54 PM EDT

    Marc Crawford Getty Images

    “Everyone involved with the ZSC Lions is so excited about seeing him play in Zurich.”

  14. Canucks have a puzzle to solve on the blue line

    May 25, 2015, 12:44 PM EDT

    Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks Getty Images

    This won’t quell the Kevin Bieksa trade speculation.

Featured video

Babcock has his work cut out in Toronto
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. R. Nash (1436)
  2. N. Horton (1326)
  3. C. Crawford (1297)
  4. F. Andersen (1281)
  5. B. Bishop (1191)