Corey Crawford: Vezina Candidate?

He’s been underappreciated for most of his career in Chicago, both because of the exceptional skaters in front of him and the love affair fans have with back-ups in this town. Corey Crawford already has two Jennings Trophies to his credit, and should have won the Conn Smythe in 2013.

But is Crawford establishing himself as a legitimate Vezina candidate this season?

Duncan Keith left the Hawks’ lineup after the game on Oct. 17, and Crawford has been a rock since the future Hall of Famer got hurt. Over his last five starts without Keith, Crawford is now 4-1-0 with two shutouts and strong performances against the likes of Tampa, Winnipeg and Los Angeles (and Anaheim, though they’re a dumpster fire right now).

With names like Rundblad, Gustafsson, Daley, van Riemsdyk and Svedberg skating important minutes on the blue line in front of him, and a mix of rookies at various forward spots, Crawford has stopped 137 of 144 shots without Keith in the lineup – a .951 save percentage.

How does Crawford stack up against the usual suspects in the potential Vezina race this year?

Crawford CHI 9 6 3 0 1.79 .938
Lundqvist NYR 9 5 2 2 1.87 .943
Price MTL 9 7 2 0 2.01 .936
Rinne NSH 9 6 1 2 1.97 .925
Holtby WSH 8 6 2 0 1.90 .924
Quick LAK 10 6 4 0 2.28 .918
Fleury PIT 10 6 4 0 1.71 .942

The biggest difference Crawford has this year, again, is he continues to perform at an elite level while Keith is out of the lineup. The other netminders on this list haven’t spent three weeks without the best defenseman on their roster, much less with the cast of characters Chicago has rotated through their defensive pairs this season.

There’s a long way to go this season, but it’s about time Crawford got his due. And his play so far this season is worthy of being on the short list for the Vezina already.

41 thoughts on “Corey Crawford: Vezina Candidate?

  1. Corey Crawford has nothing more to prove. He is A TWO-TIME STANLEY CUP CHAMPION. A winner when its counts the most. And now even he can use the same quote as his childhood idol Patrick Roy: “I can’t really hear what anyone says, because I got my two Stanley Cup rings plugged in my ears”

  2. No comments from Wall are allowed here. ;-) From that list is there anyone else you would take? Most, if not all, have strong defenses in front of them.

  3. Crawford will never win such trophies for different reasons. He isn’t an elite GK by the formal meaning of the term and the pundits missed on him from the beginning, so they’d need to contradict themselves in order to support such an award. that’s not going to happen.

  4. He’s also Canadian and those guys are -rightfully- obsessed with Price. They’ll never vote for Crawford before Price.

  5. Funny, I’m halfway through the article listening to Sirius NHL…halfway through the article they made mention of Crawford. And the Panarin getting the chances he gets seemingly every game

  6. Highly under appreciated?

    At what? 6 million per year? 7 million per year? About as much a Pekka Rinne.

    So you must still burned by Cro never winning MVP.

    Time to get over that and stop taking it as some sort of insult. There is a ton of talent in front of Cro, its going to be really hard to stand out as a clear MVP.

  7. Also, the Vezina goes to best goalie. Not MVP. The MVP is the Hart. For arguments sake lets not get the two confused.

  8. ButtTurtle- Tab- is the only one here who can “allow/not allow comments”…

    My comments-
    Crow has been very good
    Coincidentally : the backups for NYR and Montreal- actually have better numbers then the starters… “King”/Price- which strongly suggests the team/system/Coaching might be a factor …. Backup numbers like Emery in 2013, and Darling/Raanta in 2015…

    For the billionth time- suggests System/Team is a big factor (does NOT suggest Condon is better then Lundquist… or Emery was better than Crow!!!)

    At least – that is how I interpret those stats on Backups

  9. Sure Wall … or maybe the backup #’s are a result of limited sample size.

    Maybe the Blackhawks should’ve gone with the duo of Darling & Nilsson like you suggested. LOL.

  10. Wall, it’s all in fun. Backups might have better numbers but being a starter is quite different and again, those goalies also have good defenses in front of them. Who would you pick as goalie?

  11. Crow has a few stigmas attached to his name that make having the Vezina conversation about him difficult. One of these stigmas is that he has never been an overly athletic goalie. His strength has always been his positional awareness in net. Technically sound rather than physically gifted. This manifests itself by making it appear that he isn’t making that tough save. His being in position essentially makes a tough save look easy. But not being particularly athletic also means he rarely recovers when he is beat to make that glorious highlight reel save that you sometimes see other more athletic goalies make. This is that quality that the pundits call, “being special.” Making a play when it “looks” like you are beat. If Crawford made spectacular saves flashing the glove or blindly kicking his leg out more often, with all his numbers staying the same, his name would be mentioned more often in Vezina conversations. But he looks mechanical and not fluid, less “special,” so you can’t have a Vezina conversation about a guy who doesn’t pass that “special” eye test.

  12. Mud, wts… and in fun…

    Those guys on list make too much in the cap world… i would be happy with condon, talbot, or other … cheaper/good backup. But yes, starter is different than backup, until he is starter…
    Gotta start some where… my yogi-isms for the day.

    Better option yet. Be happier if 3/4ths of 29’$ cap hit being trader/gone… but that is not gonna happen .

  13. The back-up vs starter conversation will never die.

    The Hawks decided to keep Belfour instead of Hasek.
    The Hawks decided to keep Hackett instead of Belfour.

    There are only 2 active goaltenders who have won the Cup twice. Crawford is one of them. Hard to argue with that success, whether you’d prefer the Hawks invested those funds in other areas or not. It’s a lot easier to turn over the blue line with a known commodity between the pipes than have to figure out who your starting netminder is AND try to find consistency with the rest of the lineup.

  14. Crow has exceeded expectations he will likely go down with the 3rd most wins in Hawks history behind 3 hall of fame goalies. I’m not saying Crow is going into the hall but he certainly deserves ALOT more credit then he gets. Crow has shown that when the bright lights go on he brings his A game!

    Not sure if anyone catches alot of Canadian broadcasts but Crow certainly gets his due, its HERE that he gets shit on. He is right up there in that 2nd tier of goalies.
    He isn’t elite like Hank or Price but he is up there.

  15. How is he not an elite goaltender??? Crow stood on his head for the last 3 playoff runs better than any other goalie. He also stopped a ton of ‘should’ve scored’ shots, and I’ve seen Rask and Price miss some simple procedural shots.

    Just wow.

  16. Where are Mr Rufus’ old posts disparaging Crawford and throwing obsessive love to Rinne? It was early last season or the year before for sure. Can someone kindly find and post please? Entertainment would be greatly appreciated.

  17. A great post Tab…really telling it like it is and sticking with the facts. Please note to all ..Tab states ..” continues to perform at an elite level while Keith is out of the lineup”….we have all seen this level before, especially throughout the playoffs. Hear! Hear! Feathers and Stripes and Tab! The man has nerves of steel and is teflon coated as well (obviously) with all the criticism pointed at him. He is super respected and considered among the best up here in the Great White North by all…( by the way the white stuff has been piling up for a couple of days now throughout Saskatchewan, always, like 15 minutes after Halloween is over and does not leave until mid May). We have one hellava team and its anchored by one of the best ” The Man of Steel”.

  18. I agree with Tab and Feathers. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. We know the Hawks can win the Cup with Crawford and not in spite of him. If you get goalies with lower salaries, you’re rolling the dice and if one does win a Cup, you have a Niemi type situation again and you’re looking for another goaltender. Quick also has two Cups. I’d take Crawford over Quick. Tampa put Lundqvist into a state of despair in the conference championship last season. He said he couldn’t figure them out and didn’t know what to do. We know what Crawford did against them.

  19. Corey Crawford is THE nose important reason behind the Cup win in 2013. And his gutty determination in the face of struggle was a major reason why this team again hoisted a Cup in 2015. Crawford has flat out become a truly great goalie. A big game money goalie no less. He has been a rock many many times more than he has failed to deliver. I love the guy completely. I have had the privilege of meeting and spending time with the young man. He’s the real deal. Might swear like a sailor and have a wild side, but he is a great Chicago Blackhawk. Hell yes I hope he wins a Vezina someday. But it’s not most important and I’m sure he’d be the first to say he’d rather win playoff games.

  20. Ernie, watched that several times… to see if Reaves “love tap” was on purpose or accident…

    conclusion: Purposely an accident…. he looked over shoulder, new he was coming, and left his stick where Kopitar’s face was going

  21. Crawford is in the top tier of goalies but Price is better. Look at the Hawks top defenceman vs. the Canadien defence. Keith, Seabrook, and Hammer are way better than Subban, Markov and Emelin.

  22. Announcers said he caught him with his elbow. Looks like he put the butt end of his stick right into Kopitar’s mouth as Kopitar skated by.

  23. pucklogic- They have Petry as their 2nd best Dman. Emelin plays 3rd pairing. It’s not only the D corp…the system is a defensive system. They’re Price dependent 100 %.

    PS: The canadiens are very GK centric, while the americans are more into the Center/line combinations. That’s what I’ve noticed watching NHL games on both countries networks. Very strange fact…the canadian coverage of hockey is much superior than the american one. Maybe it’s the fact they have general TVs showing the canadian teams while the US teams have their own local networks so the commentators are homers.

    Worst local coverage is the Blues crew. Rangers close 2nd.


    Crow is alot of things, but elite NHL goaltender is not one of them. Crow is a very good goalie and a winner but to call him an elite goalie is just plain silly. I consider myself a huge Crow fan but I would never say he is one of the top goalies in the league. Price and Lundquist are in a league by themselves IMO.


    So by that definition Chris Osgood was an elite goalie? Osgood was multiple cup wins and comes through in the playoffs. Crow was asked if he was Chris Osgood by a national guy last year and got pretty pissed off actually.

    What I am saying is hockey is a team game, the Hawks have had a pretty good team around Crow. This core group will likely put 4 players into the Hall, a Coach and have some borderline players like Seabs, Sharp, Hammer and Crow likely get a some Hall love too.

    How many current Rangers are you putting into the HOF? How many Current Canadiens?

  26. The Blues Dmen are turnover machines. I’m sure the Hawks will use high coverage in order to take advantage. That includes the much talked Parenko. He’s sloppy with the puck in his own side of the ice.

  27. SSHM- it looks like my Hopes/dreams came true… 3rd/4th lines scored…

    The Vezina Candidate took a step back tonite… against a tired team and injured team…

  28. and for the record… I originally wrote Predicting 3rd/4th lines score tonite…

    But didn’t want to ruin my record of “predicting” … so I changed to Hoping…

    When Hossa comes back- still wouldn’t mind him on 3rd line RW- in place of “just a guy” Hartman!!! But Q will most likely put Garbutt there.

  29. SSHM and Wall. To me, being a great playoff goalie makes one elite but from your perspective I understand. Although I think Osgood was underrated by many because of the great teams in front of him and that might be why Crawford would appear pissed off. But after that game tonight…….

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