How Much Is Corey Crawford Worth?

With news on Wednesday that Boston had given Tuukka Rask an eight-year, $56M contract, the bar has once again been raised for contracts given to goaltenders in the NHL.

In 12 months, Corey Crawford – who just defeated Rask in the Stanley Cup Final – will need a new contract. The money given to Rask and a few other netminders raises an important question for the Blackhawks moving forward.

How much is Crawford worth?


There are a couple goaltenders entering the first seasons of long-term deals this fall that can be used as comparables for Crawford as we look forward. One is Rask, the other is Detroit’s Jimmy Howard.

  • Howard, 29, is beginning a six-year, $31.75M deal (cap hit: $5,291,667).
  • Rask, 26, will start his eight-year, $56M deal (cap hit: $7,000,000).
  • Crawford, 28, is in the final year of a three-year, $8M deal (cap hit: $2,666,667).

There will be some that immediately say “You can’t put Crawford in a category with those two. Rask and Howard are elite and Crawford isn’t.” However, the numbers might lend themselves favorably to Crawford’s side of his next contract negotiation.

Over the last three regular seasons, only one of these three – Howard – has been his team’s number one goaltender. Howard has played in 162 games in that span; Crawford has played in 144 games over the last three seasons, while Rask has seen action in only 88 contests.

Consider the save percentages for the three in each of the last three seasons:

Howard Crawford Rask
2013 0.923 0.926 0.929
2011-12 0.920 0.903 0.929
2010-11 0.908 0.917 0.918
3-Year 0.916 0.913 0.925

In the cases of Howard and Crawford, each had one season with a sub-.910 save percentage, and their overall performance for the last three seasons is relatively close. Rask has had three strong seasons in a row, albeit with a significantly smaller sample size; Rask hadn’t started more than 29 games in a regular season before the 2013 season.

The biggest difference among the three is their shutout totals. Howard (13) had almost twice as many as Crawford (7), and Rask (10) has also out-performed Crawford. Of course, Crawford didn’t have a single shutout during the 2011-12 regular season.

While regular season numbers might indicate Crawford is just behind Howard and Rask, the postseason tells a different story.

Of these three players, Crawford has started the most playoff games (36) in the last three years. Rask (35) has only played in the last two postseasons for the Bruins, and Howard (30) has played the fewest of the group.

In the last three playoffs, Crawford has two shutouts to only one for Howard; Rask had three this spring after none last year. Here are the postseason save percentages for the three netminders over the same years:

Howard Crawford Rask
2013 0.924 0.932 0.940
2011-12 0.888 0.893 0.912
2010-11 0.923 0.927 n/a
3-Year 0.919 0.925 0.930

The 2012 postseason did not treat Howard or Crawford well; Detroit was eliminated in five games and Chicago was bounced in six. Even Rask’s percentage was down significantly from his regular season numbers last year as Boston was eliminated after 13 playoff games.

But in all three seasons, Crawford’s save percentage was better than Howard’s, and he was Rask’s equal during the Final this year. The case has (appropriately) been made that Howard was individually the biggest (only) reason Detroit pushed the Hawks to seven games, but Crawford won the series… and the two that followed it.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the three is the ultimate hardware. Only Crawford has won a Stanley Cup as his team’s starter; Rask was Tim Thomas’ back-up in 2011, and Howard didn’t play for the Wings in the 2008 playoffs.

Will the Blackhawks see Crawford as a $4-5M per year player and offer him a longer-term deal?

Or will we see Antti Raanta emerge this season as the heir apparent between the pipes at the United Center?

These are two legitimate questions because the Blackhawks have one other distinction that Detroit and Boston cannot claim.

Detroit and Boston have played in two Stanley Cup Final series since the 2004-05 season was cancelled, but only won once.

Only the Chicago Blackhawks have won twice in the last eight years.

And the Blackhawks have won with two different goaltenders.

Obviously Antti Niemi left for San Jose after the 2010 Cup, but the Hawks were able to hand the net to Crawford. After two tough postseasons, the Hawks climbed back to the top this year.

The cap’s movement after the 2013-14 season will be a significant factor in the organization’s plans moving forward. With Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane set to become unrestricted free agents in 2015, the Blackhawks are already taking steps to insure the cornerstones of the franchise stay in the Indian head.

How much money the Hawks commit to the goaltender position will be something to watch in the next year. Crawford has won the Stanley Cup (and should have won the Conn Smythe). But will he get a big pay-day in Chicago? Only time will tell.

35 thoughts on “How Much Is Corey Crawford Worth?

  • July 11, 2013 at 1:39 am

    Even though now shouldn’t be the time to discuss this topic, it is the perfect time to ponder this. You even brought up the key scenario of Kane and Toews’ extensions being dealt with. Fitting the franchise player’s cap hits with the goalie’s is going to be the biggest challenge for the hawks to keep this monster rolling. To me, the main reason for their success this season was their depth and that was made possible by Crawford’s stellar play and friendly cap number. It’ll be interesting to see A) How Crawford follows this season up in ’14 B) If the hawks commit to him long term and for how much C) When and how much will Kane and Toews will be extended for. With these contracts for franchise players now, I can’t imagine either getting less than 8yrs 8mil per. What I thought the hawks would be smart to do was to save a buyout for Hossa’s deal after this upcoming season but they decided to stay the course. It’s nothing against Hossa or his performance but that cap hit could cripple their plans down the road. Should be interesting to see how this plays out.

  • July 11, 2013 at 2:23 am

    Let us also not forget that Hjalmarsson will need new paper after last year and a whole host of young’uns will be RFAs.

    I know he just won a Cup and all, but I don’t really see Bowman shelling out $5m and a lot of years to Crawford. If he would take a deal similar to Schneider and Niemi (3-4 years, $3.75-4m), I think he stays in Chicago. If he goes for more than that (or Raanta is exceptional), he’ll be heading out. I like Crawford more than most, but I don’t think he’s worth more than $4-4.5m

  • July 11, 2013 at 6:53 am

    There are 2 types of teams NHL GMs can build around. You can have a Tough, Gritty, Nose-to-the-grindstone, team filled with big body Grinders and Power Forwards (think LA). Or you can have a team with talented skaters and guys with great hands with elite passing and shooting (think us). Obviously a balance of the two is the key, but generally the team will lean one way or the other.

    If you are the previous of the 2, you need an Top goalie. You won’t score 3.2-3.3 goals per game and he will need to win you 1-0, 2-1 games. You will pay a goalie 6-7 Million to win you those games.

    If you are the latter, typically you are paying the skaters 5-6 million (Kane, Toews, Hossa, Keith) so you can afford to lock a goalie in to a long, cap crippling contract (*Cough* Luongo), NOR do you NEED to. You can win with good but not “elite” goalie play. 3 million is much more like it…

    Crawford is a very talanted goalie, who meshes well in Chicago. He is making 2.66 per, and is probably due for a little raise. On the open market, a goalie with a stanley cup should be worth 5 million to a team willing to pay it. Heck, we just gave a half dead Khabibulin 2 mil.). Now, Crow will be 29 when his deal is up. I would say its safe to estimate he would have about 3 years of his prime left. If he wanted to sign a 3yr/15M it would be worth it… but we cant afford it. We would need something in the 3/11 range. But if you are CC, your agent should be telling you that you are worth 5/27-28, and im guessing he will get it!

    Let me propose a hypothetical. Edmonton has a good year. Grabs a 7 or 8 seed and gets swept in the first round. Dubnyk has a below average year and is carried by a young upstart team in front of him. His contract is up. He already makes 3.5M. Edmonton has Cap Room to spare and they get out from Hemsky’s 5 million next year. They could easily offer Crow the 5/27.5 i proposed above to lock up a stanley cup winning goal to pair with a young team.

    If Chicago wants him, he will need to be offered 4.5+ million a year to even have a shot at him. That would be combining his and Bulin’s contracts as is. and im guessing Raanta will be signed to about a 4/8 deal. so unless we let Hammer walk, or find something do with Hossa’s or Sharp’s contract (which i would highly be againest) we just cant pay Crow what he would be worth.

    Bottom line (after this already wall of text, sorry guys), Its either Crow, Hammer, or Sharp. Pick 2 and replace the third… thats what this will come down to, and im replacing Crow.

  • July 11, 2013 at 7:13 am

    Bye-Bye Crow- thanks for helping us win the cup.

    Agree Tim- ( you are making a lot of sense lately) Goalies are almost never worth the money… How good is Bryz, or think of the great Ryan Miller, Luongo!!! They have very bad contracts- and were recently considered two of the best goalies in the league!!! Do the Hawks want a Fluery on their hands?

    Bowman has been very cheap on goalies here… please don’t change your winning philosophy now!!!

    Does anyone know how the new CBA would treat Hoss’s $$$ if he were to retire this year or next – due to his back???

  • July 11, 2013 at 7:56 am

    I agree that SB is really not ” build your team around the goalie” type GM. Howard got a huge contract for just the reason Tim says. The Wings know they will be a grind it out type club for the next 2-3 years.

    The big question will be the Cap. It is hard to speculate anything without knowing what the Cap might be a year or two down the road. It is highly possible the Cap could be as high as $72-74mm in 15-16. Other sports are paying astronomical numbers for players and overseas hockey leagues paying more and more each year. The NHL may just have to let the weak financial teams die and start paying its top players $10-15mm a year.

    I can easily see a 24 team league with a $90-100mm Cap in 3-5 years. Two 12 team conferences with 2 divisions each.

  • July 11, 2013 at 8:02 am

    No love for Carruth. He will be better than Raanta. Mark my word.

  • July 11, 2013 at 8:14 am

    IF he were to retire this year (without playing a game), we would be charged 1.32 Millions every year through the length of his contract (the 20-21 season)

    If he were to retire after this in the 2014 offseason it would be a 1.875 mil from the 14-15 season through 2021 and it goes up every year. This is based off the CapGeek Recapture Calculator.

    It might shed more light on it, but Basically, because he is making 7.9 million in salary, but we are only holding 5.3 cap hit on him, the NHL would recapture that difference if the player retires before his contract is up.

  • July 11, 2013 at 8:35 am

    I’m not in favor of this, but I raise this question now just to ask it? What could you get now if you traded Crawford? Think in terms of draft picks? I say keep him and go for a repeat cup win next year, but since we are fans we get to talk about this type of stuff for fun. So what if you traded Crawford now for picks and went with Khaby and Raanta next year. There are likely salary cap benefits to this over the next few years and the question becomes can you legitimately compete for a cup next year without Crawford. Again I am not advocating this.

  • July 11, 2013 at 8:57 am

    If he retires “because of his back”, he would go on LTIR (Long Term Injured Reserve) and his cap hit would be wiped clean (think Pronger, Savard).

    I argued all year that Crawford was good enough for the Hawks to win a Stanley Cup while a whole lotta posters (Negzz leading the charge) thought the Hawks didn’t have a chance because of him. Crawford had a really good year and he’s a pretty solid goalie, but I don’t think he’s worth breaking the bank over.

    The issue the Hawks have is who is next in line? What if Rannta isn’t good? What if Carruth isn’t ready? I’d say Crawford’s value, relative to the Hawks, is largely based on the progression of the goalies in the system. If he’s willing to hang around for 3.5-4.5 a year, I’d say it’s a worthwhile investment. If he wants 6+… I hope Rannta has a strong season.

  • July 11, 2013 at 8:58 am

    A lot would depend on what you get. Just to play along……
    Hawks are up against the Cap so Trading Crow frees up only $2.67mm

    Not sure there is a legit 2C available for $4mm (Crow plus what Kruger might get)

    I would think about it IF, and that is a big IF, we could get a potential top 5 first rounder next year AND a serviceable prospect or two.

  • July 11, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Guys, the Hawks want to win the Stanley Cup again this year. That can’t happen if you trade Crawford.

  • July 11, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Does anyone else think that draft picks are worth more now with the salary cap being reduced with the new collective bargaining agreement. It would seem to me that the stars in the league get “spread around” more due to salary cap issues and then teams need to fill out their roster with prospects/younger players on entry level contracts. If you have the best players on the entry level contracts you have an advantage i.e Brandon Saad. Its just a thought I had and I was wondering if anyone else thinks this could be happening.

  • July 11, 2013 at 9:16 am

    What ever happened to that Karllesson (sic) kid….?

    More importantly WHO is the next goaltenders coach…..? That may be the million $ question…..

    Could it be Espo….? He looked good in those binny’s commercials ….. Lol…… (kidding)

  • July 11, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I haven’t seen Raanta play- but I have a good feeling about him- Finnish goalies have done pretty well of late… Goaltending is very mental though- so we will see how tough he is mentally-

    Crow is average to slightly above average… but he seems to have matured mentally and gotten tougher between the ears- but with Hawks talent in front of goalies… Hawks need not overpay that position…

    I have said it before- In practices I have seen- Crow was noticeably a better goalie over Emery- athletically speaking!!! (drills were mostly 2 on 0 or 3 on 2 types were goalies are clearly at a disadvantage- so needed to be quick/athletic)… Yet Crow/Emery were very similar during games… this is because – Hawks were so good in front of goalies- and Emery is a very smart/positional Goalie.

    On another note-Draft
    Really interesting the Hawks went after 3 guys that were US developed guys ( 4 if you include Hartman)… Guess this Hayden kid is looking like a steal. And Motte/Louis kid look pretty skilled/ but small… Yet there would be a great deal of chemistry in 3-4 years between them on a Hawks 3rd or 4th line…

  • July 11, 2013 at 9:41 am

    A few things…

    Stop thinking about any trades involving Crawford before the 2013-14 season begins. That’s silly and far from rational. There’s no way the Hawks sign Khabibulin to back-up Crawford because Raanta isn’t ready and then start their title defense w/ Khabibulin & the kid that isn’t ready as their two NHL netminders. Common sense should kill that idea before it’s typed.

    Second, re: the next generation – there is some talent coming. I never discounted Carruth, but he’s 2-3 years away (at best). Whitney could become a fine goaltender as well. But neither of them is close to replacing Crawford. Henrik Karlsson is in Europe. Raanta would be next in line.

    To the continued conversation about Hossa & the recapture penalty: stop. We’re 3-5 years from that being a discussion, even w/ his injuries. The reason the Hawks bought out Olesz & Montador is because this is going to be the hardest year for NHL teams to make it back under the cap. Many, including Boston’s Jacobs & our own Bowman, have indicated the cap could be north of $70M next year. So this is a one-year issue that teams are trying to make work while not forfeiting too much of their future in the process… except the Bruins LOL.

    to Mike’s comment about letting the weak financial teams die and cutting back to a 24-team NHL… you’ll see expansion before that. Seattle & Quebec City will get teams within the next 5 years, so forget the idea of contraction now. Not happening.

    This circles back to 19 & 88. Until they’re locked-up, everything else will be secondary. While some have mentions Hjalmarsson will also be a free agent in 2014, the pipeline presenting options like Clendening as possible replacements for 4 makes it easier to conceive of a day when he’s wearing another sweater. The unknown commodity that is Raanta, esp. in light of the failed Alexander Salak experiment, coupled with Carruth, Whitney and the rest not being NHL-ready makes the goaltender position more of a hot button than any other upcoming free agent in the organization.

    And the only reason this discussion is relevant is because of the deal Rask got on Wednesday. Rask & Howard could be the comparables Crawford’s agent uses when looking for his client’s next deal.

  • July 11, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Honestly, I’m just glad we have another year before the Hawks have to actually make their decision on this. I’ll be honest, I entered this postseason worried about how Crow would perform. I’m thrilled I was wrong to even be concerned. But now the Hawks have the unique opportunity to take a guy who just played a Conn Smythe worthy postseason and wait to see what he does next year. I agree with Tim about where the team stands right now and who they should pay but who knows, maybe Crow plays another full season standing on his head every game and, additional Stanley Cup or no, puts the “elite goaltender” argument to bed. Then again, and I hope this is not the case, maybe he looks more like Ryan Miller who shined bright under the Olympic lights but isn’t in anyone’s top three net minders this year.

    Either way I think at the end of this contract Tim is right, Crow will (and should) get paid. Now he has this year to prove to Stan that he’s worth not just the money but the people they’ll have to give up to keep him

  • July 11, 2013 at 10:14 am

    I think Chicago is a tough place to leave, and Crawford has been with them for a long time. It will be interesting to see if he gives them any kind of home town discount. I don’t see Toews or Kane doing it (which is sad because I like both of those players, but they seem greedy). I think Crow wants to stay in Chicago, and I think he would prefer staying there rather than a fat paycheck, but who knows.

    I think a lot depends on this season.

    Side note I really like Crawford, and have backed him since his first season. (Even got a jersey before the first playoff for my birthday), so it would be a bummer to see him play somewhere else.

  • July 11, 2013 at 11:12 am

    The salary cap will go up a lot over these 2 yrs. Its just a matter of getting through this bottle neck (and WE did).

    Their playing all the games (7/14-7/18) again on csn.
    I am buying a case of champagne, 2 cases of goose island and angry orchard each.

    Soaked in booze (champagne & beer) all summer.
    I am Proud to be a Blackhawk.

  • July 11, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    The key is the salary cap increase next year and the season after (2015/16). While I have read wild speculation that the cap could jump back up to $70M in 2014/15 and jump another $5M-$6M the after – I don’t see the math supporting those guestimates. With the players share of HRR now being 50%, down from the 57% of the last few years, it more likely that the cap won’t reach $70M until 2015/16, and if that’s the case it barely enough cap room to give Toews and Kane the raises the market has set for elite level players. If T&K each get $2M raises (to $8.3M, which will probably be on the low side), that leaves only another million or two for to resign Hjalmarsson, Saad, Shaw, Leddy and Crawford. Of course, other salary can be moved or other players not resigned, but there isn’t a whole lot of dead weight that can be shed.

    So unless the league HRR goes up significantly more that the current 7.5% growth rate causing the salary cap to rise more than the projected $2.5M-$3.5M per year, Toews and Kane and maybe one other player from that list will be able to be resigned. It very well could come down to resigning only one player from this list: Hjalmarsson, Saad, Shaw, Leddy, Crawford. I’m not sure which player I would pick, but I’m very sure it wouldn’t be Crawford.

  • July 11, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Remember these names…..DiPietro, Bryshgalov, Fleury and now, Rask. All of these goaltenders are highly paid and all of them, except Rask, have not lived up to their contracts. We will find out if Rask is an exception. I personally do not believe he is an “elite” goaltender. He is a good goaltender on a good team with a good defensive system.

    Crawford is a good goaltender. Let’s not put him in the HOF, just yet. In my opinion, he’s a 3-4Mil a year goaltender, top dollar. A goaltender is only as good as the team that is in front of him. Right now, Crawford looks as good as the rest of the team……..fantastic!! However, technically he has several flaws that have been mentioned over and over. If we lost Seabrook and Keith with injuries, could Crawford carry this team for 4-6 weeks and win games on a consistent basis?

    MOST hockey teams are learning that this game is changing in front of our eyes. Teams used to build from the goalie, out. Now, they build the triangle, which is from the center position back to the 2 defenseman. This is how the Hawks are built. They are strong up the middle and quick on “D”. The goaltending is “average”. Other teams are taking notice of this and building their teams this way.

    The Detroit Red Wings were also built this way. And we all know who built the Red Wings, right?

  • July 11, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    My answer just numbers wise is between 3.5-5 million dollars a season. The Hawks would be wise to look at Jimmy Howards deal as they have similar numbers and go from there, I do think Jimmy might have better numbers and makes about 5 million a season.

  • July 11, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    I’ve thought for a while that Howard was the perfect comparison for Crawford. We should expect Crawford’s next deal to be in the same range as Howard’s, though it could easily be another team giving Crawford that deal. The only concern with letting Crawford go would be there doesn’t seem to be a viable replacement in the system if Raanta isn’t ready. In 2010, Crawford was clearly ready to replace Niemi.

    As mentioned by Tab, the league will expand before it contracts. The conferences are uneven at the moment, and I find it hard to believe the league would go with lopsided conferences unless they were planning on evening them out. This would mean that there will be two expansion teams, and I could see those teams being located in Seattle, Kansas City, Wisconsin, Quebec City, or a second Toronto team.

  • July 11, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Tails—not in Wisconsin.
    Joey Zamboni—1. Karlsson is in Sweden. 2. Esposito is too old to be goalie coach.

  • July 11, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Why not Wisconsin though? They have a professional team in the other three major sports (Packers, Bucks, and Brewers). Hockey is also pretty popular in the state. Most American hockey players come from Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin. Is there a reason the state couldn’t support a professional team?

  • July 11, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Tab’s on the money I think. To me, the Raanta signing is a clue on the hawks future plans. I don’t think they’re going to offer Crawford a big money deal and this signing is a fallback plan. They’re thinking may be, see if Crawford duplicates his big season with a larger workload and try to get him on a more cap friendly deal if he doesn’t. Also, see what Raanta is in North America. Having a possible heir apparent could be used as leverage in negotiations. I think they know Carruth or Whitney are at least a few yrs away from the NHL. Their priority will be to lock up 19/88. Then they’ll deal with the cap accordingly imo.

  • July 11, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    It will be nearly impossible to dish out a new contract to Crawford. It is what it is. Hence was Raanta is the name to watch. Bowman didn’t just casually pick this Fin up. You can rest assured Bowman and his guys scouted Raanta to death and feel good about his NHL future. Of course he is a risk, but then again so was Crawford after Niemi left. Turco was a subterfuge…nothing more.

    It will also become the case soon where hard decision will have to be made on Sharp. And a probable choice between Seabrook versus Hjalmarsson. The cap is a bitch folks. Most experts don’t see it going up much over the next 3 years either.

  • July 11, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    The NHL in Milwaukee? Not going to happen. No way Wisconsin can support an NHL franchise. I do a lot of business in Milwaukee that gives me a passing perspective on what makes that economy tick.

    Hockey in Seattle is also dubious. My mother retired to that area 20 years ago and I get to the Emerald City frequently. There is nothing in the way of hockey IQ that I have ever detected. They’d have to educate and recruit and entire fanbase.

  • July 11, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Great analysis and interesting read, Tab!

  • July 11, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    First, a timely and excellent article by Tab…and what I liked about it the most, is that it had no bias…it was simply telling us what the situation is…also, incredibly intelligent, thoughtful responses by everyone on the site…this is such “easy” reading becuase the responses and ideas are so well done.

    Tab and Tim really have a rock solid understanding of where things are at…at 29, CC deserves to be paid, and he will, I just doubt it will be in Chicago…think of this, if we have another great season and win another Cup, how much is Crawford worth then??? You could make an arguement this year for 4 years and $16 million, but after one more great season and another Cup, no one will be able to touch CC for less than $6 million and that puts us out of the running…

    So, as another blogger said, this is why we know for sure the Hawks have scouted Raanta well, and why they signed Habby, which will allow Raanta to play in Rockford. They know they won’t be able to keep Crawford, and that Raanta is the real deal. Not rushing him to the NHL this year is being cautious and not risking their next option in goal.

    With the Cap going up over the next 2 years, we should have enough money to extend Toews and Kane…but in 2 years time there are some other vey key names that will have to be signed…and where does the money come from??? This is why we are transitioning to the younger players starting this year…its a sad reality of the salary cap age, but at least it effects all teams…and Boman has played this transition better than the rest…this is why I have been so sure about the Hawks repeating this coming year…in the past month, Bowman’s few actions have cemented our chances…while others have spent their way into Cap Hell, and won’t be able to get back out for years to come…

  • July 12, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Kruger just signed…2 year deal…no financials yet.

  • July 12, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Think of this option regarding CC. Emery could have a good season in Philly and prove he can handle a starter’s burden. He would love to come back to the Hawks at a much more reasonable price. I know he would rather play for us. In any event, he will be available.

  • July 12, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Wow, Great analysis here. My first time reading this blog. It looks like SB will be riding his highly skilled guys well into the future as this makes it tough for other teams to match up. So we will be seeing Kane, Toews, Sharp, and Hossa along with Keith and Seabrook for quite some time. Now add Bickell to this group and you are at almost 70% of the cap. There is not much room for middle level 2-3 million salaries except for a few valued defensemen, and there will be continued emphasis of moving young players in and these middle level salaries out ala Boland, Frolik, and Stalberg. Look to see at least one rookie break into the top six forwards this year, maybe Pirri with Sharp and Kane? and Hayes skate with Shaw and Bickell on the third line. I’d love to see Drew Leblanc get into the 4th line and maybe pk, and hopefully another rooks break into the top six defensemen. I think Handzus will provide great insurance if someone goes down, but this will be the deepest Hawk team at center we have seen in a long time. There will be no room for Crawford after next year even though he had a great season, but as long as you have some of the top forwards in takeaways then a middle quality talent will suffice in the net. Also by keeping their elite players like Toews and Kane locked up forever they won’t be pissing off long time fans still mad about losing Roenick and Hull! I think Rocky knows the history of this club and he won’t risk losing fans again the way his predecessors did.

  • July 13, 2013 at 7:00 am

    Very relevant to the cap situation is whether TT can replace 88. They’re similar players, small and highly skilled. If TT can mostly fill those shoes, then we have the cap space to sign everyone else.

    Not saying I’m all for it, as I’ve never seen TT play on a televised game, let alone live. But it’s a crucial subject for us to follow, especially after this season.

  • July 13, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Seems like a lot of people have forgotten the 2010/11 playoff stretch run when Crawford basically carried the Hawks into the post-season almost single handedly, and then along with Bolland was the primary reason the Hawks managed to hang around for seven games. I still don’t think we’ve seen his best work. We might never – he seems to only really get in the zone when he’s consistently has to make 30-45 stops every night, and the current Blackhawks blueline just doesn’t let that much through.

    That said, goalies are fickle things, and I really don’t want to see a lot of money get locked up in a bad long term contract. Furthermore It seems as if you take any solid goaltender with good positioning and they’ll do well in the Blackhawks defensive system (think Ray Emery), so dumping a lot of money into a big contract at that position seems like even less of a good idea.

  • July 15, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    As much as I would’ve loved to keep Ray Emery his departure was inevitable. While I don’t claim to know the reason why the League lowered the cap, I do have a belief that as much as I love hockey it will never be the sport football is, and I’m ok with that. “CC” should get 8 to 9 million a year, … a long term deal, that I’m not sure of. 3 to 4 years maximum, for the simple reason that you do have to resign “19” and “88” here soon. Plus the Blackhawks have a hoard of young talent, … killer talent that they need to bring up or to use in trade.

    It hurts to see “DB” go, and how fitting was it that he goes out on a high note, and pays back his organization by bringing in three top draft picks, he has been the ultimate “team guy”, … as well was “MF”, bringing in another 3 picks. The stockpile of talent is getting really scary good!! The cap will go up next year, so let’s hope for some health in the economy so the waiting list for season tickets continues to build. Congratulations to Stan Bowman, John McDonaugh and the rest of the Executive brass, … you guys are on a role!! Thank God you’re in CHICAGO!!!

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