NHL Free Agency: Blackhawks will not re-sign Corey Crawford

Corey Crawford #50, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Corey Crawford #50, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Blackhawks won’t be bringing back goaltender CoreyCrawford, meaning he’ll be hitting NHL free agency.

Corey Crawford has been a staple on the Chicago Blackhawks ever since he took over the starting netminder position back in the 2010-11 regular season. Now after two Stanley Cup titles, two NHL All-Star Game appearances, and two William M. Jennings Trophies, the Blackhawks and Crawford will be going their separate ways, as the former will be hitting NHL free agency.

Ever since the announcement of the flat salary cap ceiling, it was expected to be an interesting offseason for the Blackhawks. Breakout center Dylan Strome and Calder finalist Dominik Kubalik both need to be re-signed and Chicago was already near the salary cap ceiling.

It was evident that the Blackhawks needed to make some moves to clear space for the signings, but this move was a bit of a shock, especially since the Blackhawks offered Crawford a one-year deal at $3.5 million just this past week, which he declined.

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This is a bit of an emotional departure for Crawford, as he has spent his whole entire career with Chicago. He was selected by the Blackhawks 52nd overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Crawford spent seven seasons playing in the minors leagues before finally becoming the starter for the Blackhawks.

He went on to post a total of 460 victories in a Blackhawks sweater, which ranks third all-time in franchise history. Crawford also holds the best save percentage in franchise history for goalies that have played at least 100 games for the franchise, coming in at a total of .918%.

Coming off of a six-year contract with a cap hit of $6 million per season, Crawford is now 35 years old. He has struggled with injuries over the past few seasons as well, dealing with multiple concussions. Crawford performed relatively well this past season, posting a .917 SV% and a GAA of 2.77 while backstopping a blue line that was injured and inexperienced for the majority of the season.

The goalie known as “Crow” showed that he still has some clutch performances left in the tank, but also had some other performances that left much to be desired this past season. He singlehandedly stole a few games in the Chicago and Edmonton series that allowed the Blackhawks to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2017.

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Look for Crawford to join a Stanley Cup contender for the upcoming season, as he will want to have one last shot at a title before retirement. It is not known if he will still be a starting netminder, but he would still be a terrific backup nonetheless. Teams that could possibly be interested in his services could include Colorado, Calgary, Carolina, Toronto, and Edmonton.