Crawford, a pending unrestricted free agent, has been offered a one-year contract worth roughly $3.5 million from the Blackhawks.
The Chicago Blackhawks have offered 35-year-old goaltender Corey Crawford a one-year contract worth about $3.5 million, according to The Athletic’s Scott Powers. Crawford is set to become an unrestricted free agent on Oct. 9 if he and the Blackhawks are not able to reach an agreement.
After missing all but the final day of training camp following a positive COVID-19 test, Crawford started in goal for the Hawks in all nine postseason games en route to a 4-5 record with a 3.31 goals-against average and .907 save percentage. Crawford performed much better than the stats show, as he was the primary reason why the Blackhawks were close in each game of their first-round series against the Vegas Golden Knights.
In 39 starts during the 2019-20 regular season, Crawford was 16-20-3 with a 2.77 goals-against average, .917 save percentage, and one shutout. The Montreal, Quebec native struggled early on in the year, but after the Blackhawks traded fellow goaltender Robin Lehner to Vegas at the trade deadline, Crawford regained his starting role and thrived in a push for the postseason.
“I want to play a ton,” Crawford said in his exit interview with the Blackhawks media. “I don’t want to play half the games and sit on the bench for stretches at a time. I think my value is just not as good doing that. I’m way more valuable playing games and playing consistently. It really depends on how much I’m going to be used. Salary, that can be discussed. That’s something that is not as important at this time. We’ll see how those discussions go, but staying in Chicago and trying to win again, that’s number one.”
Here are three takeaways from the Blackhawks rumored contract offer to Crawford:
1. Corey Crawford Can Get His Wish in Chicago
Crawford stated in his exit interview that he wants to be a starting goaltender for the 2020-21 campaign. He also said that salary is not as big of a focal point this time around after making $36 million across the last six seasons.
Well, Crawford WILL be the starting goaltender for the Blackhawks next year if he signs the contract that Stan Bowman has offered. 26-year-old Collin Delia figures to be the No. 2 goaltender, and he only has 16 games of NHL experience under his belt, which would put Crawford in a position to start around 50-55 games. Kevin Lankinen and Matt Tomkins are the only other goaltenders in the organization signed through next season, and neither of those two is going to take away starts from Crawford.
Crawford likely could get $4-5 million on the open market, but if he wants a guaranteed starting role in Chicago, he will have to settle for a bit less.
2. Stan Bowman Knows He Needs To Find A Future No. 1 Goaltender
Even after an impressive showing in the postseason, Crawford is going to turn 36 in December and likely has just a couple of quality years left in the tank. With the NHL salary cap remaining at $81.5 million for each of the next three seasons, the Blackhawks simply cannot afford to commit to Crawford for more than one year. If there is a potential solution to the future starting goaltender problem, then Stan Bowman and the front office NEED to be able to jump on the opportunity.
Crawford could take the one-year offer as a slap in the face, but in reality, that is all the Blackhawks can afford to do at the moment.
3. We May Have Seen The Last of Crawford In A Blackhawks Sweater
With the Blackhawks only able to offer ‘Crow’ a one-year deal, there is a decent chance that he will sign elsewhere in free agency for more money. There is little doubt that Crawford could get a two-year deal worth around $4 million from another club.
Crawford has said that salary is not as important this time around, but the difference between $3-4 million is significant enough to possibly change his mind. If that is the case, then the Blackhawks will be forced to move on and look elsewhere in free agency for their starting goaltender for the 2020-21 season.
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