Corey Crawford contemplates future with Blackhawks

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CHICAGO – Corey Crawford’s future with the Blackhawks is up in the air.

As an unrestricted free agent, the 35-year-old netminder can decide where he wants to play out the rest of his career.

It doesn’t sound like Crow wants to leave his nest in Chicago.

“I would like to be back. I think we still have a lot of great pieces on this team. To win another Stanley Cup in Chicago would be unbelievable. That’s the number one goal is to win one more championship. Going into the meeting, that’s the main thing – to win a championship, to play, to be obviously the main guy and play a lot.”

Crawford hasn’t had his exit meeting with Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks’ brass yet. That’s scheduled for some time this week.

“I don’t know how much is going to get done right away. I assume things are going to happen probably closer to next season. It’s going to be a waiting game I think. It’s tough, especially with the cap.”

According to The Athletic’s calculations, the NHL salary cap ceiling for next season is project to be $81.5 million, leaving the hawks around $8.5 million in space for signings.

The question is – would he be willing to take less to come back?

“That’s hard to say right now. Really it depends on the situation.

“I’m leaning towards staying in Chicago. I want to win another championship and I want to play a ton. I don’t want to play half the games and sit on the bench for stretches at 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 is definitely not as important at this time. We’ll see how those discussions go. Staying in Chicago and trying to win again – that’s number one.”

Crawford had to split time with Robin Lehner to star the year after the Hawks added the Vezina Trophy finalist as insurance, in case Crow had another injury-plagued season.

“I love playing with Lennie. He was fun to play with. I think for both us, we both just wanted to play more. It’s hard. It depends. Little details and little things throughout the game are easier to come by when you’re playing a ton. I think I just play better. I think Lennie was the same way and feels the same. Pretty much any hockey player, it’s hard to sit and then be at your best when you’re called upon every now and then. For me, if we’re going to sign again, it’s the amount of time I’m going to be on the ice and how much I can contribute.”

For now, all Crawford can do is wait and see.

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