CHICAGO – One of the biggest questions that greeted the Blackhawks when their season ended was what they would do about their No. 1 goalie.
Corey Crawford has been with the Blackhawks for 13 seasons and was the main goaltender for two of the three Stanley Cup titles the team won in the last decade. But at 35 and ready to turn 36 on New Year’s Eve of this year, would the team decide to extend a contract to one of the faces of their franchise the last decade.
The reportedly are ready to, but for now, it’s nothing long term.
Per Scott Powers of The Athletic Chicago, the Blackhawks have offered Crawford a one-year, $3.5 million dollar contract to remain with the team for the 2020-2021 season.
The move would make sense for the team since Crawford remains the best goalie on their roster and in their system at the moment. Robin Lehner, who was platooning with Crawford for parts of the 2019-2020 season, was traded at the deadline in February and would be unlikely to return in free agency.
Crawford finished the pandemic-shortened regular season with a 16-20-3 record, but was strong for the team before the campaign was suspended. He won five of his last seven starts, which ended up being critical since those wins helped the Blackhawks qualify for the 24-team NHL postseason bubble in Edmonton.
Despite a bout with COVID-19, Crawford started all nine postseason games in net. He helped the Blackhawks to a win in the preliminary round win over the Oilers then improved his play in the first round series against Vegas.
He singled-handily kept the Blackhawks in Game 3 by allowing just two goals in a one score loss to the Golden Knights. He’d then delivered a 49-save performance in Game 4 to keep the Blackhawks alive in the playoffs in a 3-1 victory.