And then there was some noise: Crawford signed to a 6 year deal.

And then there was some noise: Crawford signed to a 6 year deal.

Finally something worth talking about. Sorry about the silence on this page for the past couple of months. With not much to say, and little free time within the mayhem of a new school year I just sort of didn't have the Blackhawks on my mind.

All of that changed today with news that Corey Crawford was signed to a reported 6 year, and this is the real kicker: 6 million per year deal.

How to not overreact to this? To put it bluntly, that was an awful lot of money and for a long time. It is quite jolting really. This puts Crow in the top 10 salaries for goaltenders, and the Hawks are staring at a very near future of needing to resign their 2 superstars, among others.

I am really trying to stay reasonable here, so let's begin with the good. Crawford played his mind out this past spring. I have my doubts about Crow in many respects even though I am mostly in his corner in the end, because he is a likable player. When poised and confident, we all know what he is capable of, and I believe he raised his game to beyond his god given talents this past spring, and at other times throughout his short time in the NHL. He can be big in net, and cuts out options well when he is confident and aggressive on the angles. He showed a lot of improvement in his rebound control this year, and came up big in the end. No one can take away his unbelievable performance in net.

And that's just it. I personally feel like we saw more from him then he is capable of continually giving. I might be wrong. But, a top 10 goaltender he just isn't to me. I see far too many holes in his game, and most of them coming from the athleticism department in an NHL world where all the top goalies are screaming talent in this category. And yes, his glove hand is weak, pure and simple. His stick side isn't that much better, and with the recent change in goalie pads, I have my worries about his 5-hole. He is not a quick and reactive goalie, who often seems unstable on his skates.

I could have handled a 3mil per year deal, and that was mainly because I eventually see Crow in a huge back-up role. In fact, we still haven't seen him in a full on starter role other than the playoffs. He split games with Emery last year, and for all intense and purposes, we were made to believe he would be doing much of the same with this Antti Raanta guy.

The only thing I can take away from this deal is that the Hawks have not seen what they wanted from Raanta, which is shocking given his reputation as a goalie with stellar athleticism and strong focus.

All of it leaves me feeling like the Hawks organization are a bit dysfunctional when it comes to goaltenders. The Khabi deal seems even weirder now, and they have tied their hands a bit on a goalie deal when they seemed determined to build a team around the defensive roster. They let go of Niemi so easily (I know it was a different time, but come on) Absolutely, Crow came up huge for his team, but we all know the defense in front of him had more than a lot to do with it. I like Crawford, but I am also throwing this under the bad move category, IMO.

Filed under: View from the Bench

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  • It seems surprising in that the Hawks balked at a $2 plus million arbitration award to Niemi and let him go packing as a free agent to San Jose.

    They didn't really say how Crawford's contract was structured (maybe it is mostly back end), but $6 million a year seems awful high when they said that the salary cap is going to go down next year.

    Also, I didn't think they rewarded players who showed up apparently drunk at the victory rally.

  • What I dislike most is this, if the team underperforms like many championship teams do, I'm going to have to listen to idiots compare this contract to Huet's while they also blather about how stupid Stan is. Big numbers, for some reason, piss people off and the Chicago fan base by and large has zero ability to consider context. They just scream. Even I don't like this contract. But the harsh reality is that Crawford has won a cup and played some outstanding hockey. What I think most of us wanted him signed at is probably isn't realistic.

  • A word about Niemi. I am a broken record on this, but I feel like it is becoming a concrete belief that the Hawks simply let Niemi walk away over a paltry sum of money. We don't know what Niemi was asking for in arbitration, and we don't know what number the Hawks offered him. After that, what was reported was that the Hawks told Niemi's agent to give the arbitrators whatever number they wanted because the team was not going to make a case against it.

    So, Niemi get's an award of 5 million a year and then he's a free agent. Ultimately, he signs for 3.5 million with San Jose. Because of the arbitration, the Hawks were not allowed to sign him at the number San Jose did. This also came in the midst of a cap slaughter. Kane and Toews hit bonus targets which I believe was around 5 million combined that was applied to the cap for the next season. Additionally, Hammer got offer sheeted for 3.5 million a year and the Hawks matched. Since then the Hawks have won another cup while San Jose remains......San Jose.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    I know close friends of the Niemi family. According to Niemi himself (but I do think the agent got in the way), he wanted nothing more than to stay in Chicago, and would have taken a cut to do so. He signed in SJ for somewhere in the 2's if I'm not mistaken, and held onto a house in Chicago that year just in case Chicago wanted to offer him a deal again. He would have signed for 3mil IMO.

    I also think that Niemi is a better goaltender than Crawford.

    I do think the cap had more to do with that whole situation, but the cap should also have had something to do with this situation now. With the cap expected to dip this coming year, and 2 superstars up for resigning, along with a handful of the prospects.

    Again, I like Crow, but all I see is a mistake with this move. I'm also a SB supporter. And yes, I also think players are greedy for taking too much money, but don't blame them for it. Is anyone else okay with Crow making more than Kane, Keith, Hjalmer, Sharp, etc...?

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    So, I was off on my numbers, but the gist is still the same. According to this http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2010/07/31/source-blackhawks-and-niemi-were-very-far-apart-in-salary-demands/ The Hawks wanted 1.5, Niemi wanted 4 and the arbitration awarded 2.75. After that, no other team picked up Niemi until San Jose and then he got 2 for a year before getting a raise from the Sharks. Reading that article, it makes an interesting point of where Tuuka Rask's salary was at the time. Given the teams cap issues right at that time and given what other goalies were making at that time, 1.5 was probably low but not insultingly so. After the Hammer offer sheet from SJ, I really don't think they could have afforded to pay him more then that without getting rid of another player and ultimately, they had to let Ladd go anyway.

    Teams win cups, but individuals with that on their resume get paid. I'm not happy with the size of the contract, but in comparison, it's not totally outrageous. In other news today, Hammer has been extended 5 years at a very reasonable 4.1 per. While I'm not happy about the size of the Crawford contract, the Hawks now have a nice chunk of certainty from 1-4 defensively and the net.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    Cap issue aside: Niemi (agent) wanted 4, Hawks offer 1.5. Crawford gets 6 and for 6 years. I say that sounds a little like an insult. On top of it all, Niemi is the better goaltender.

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    In the spirit of friendly debate, you really can't put the cap issue aside. Toews and Kane both hit bonuses in that run that took 5 million of the next years cap, that simply can't be ignored. Another thing that can't be ignored was that the Hawks had just gone through the Huet fiasco wherein they paid him 5 million dollars after a short body of success and EVERY fan in Chicago was screaming about that. As an added bonus, Rocky paid him that 5 million to go play hockey in Europe. Because WE are all geniuses, we can of course sit back and say it's obvious that Niemi is better then every goalie in the Hawks system. We aren't the GM though. To say the offer to Niemi is an insult because Crawford got 6 mil a year 3 years subsequent and Niemi is STILL the better goalie doesn't equate for me.

    What happened after the Hawks walked away was that Niemi signed for one year at 2 million dollars, a mere 500K over what the Hawks offered. Why didn't some other team snap him up at 3 mil a year for five years? Even now. Niemi is only making 4 with a cap hit of 3.8 Whether we vehemently disagree or not with the valuation the broader market placed on Niemi, the reality is that Bowman read it just about right FOR THAT YEAR. I think that's an important distinction. Goalie salaries have gone up since then. I honestly can't debate whether NIemie is better, but the reality is that he got more money and is now trapped on a crappy team while Crawford is hoisting. Unlike that year, the Hawks do have money now. It's unfortunate for Niemi, and by some metric, perhaps it's not even fair. As a fan though, the team has won again since 2010 and I can't say I really have much to complain about.

  • Oops. Six million per for six years is stupid. Raanta coming up... I don't get it.

    Keepers sign for big bucks but I would have wanted another solid year from Crawford before I loosened the purse strings to that extent. Good first year, bad 2nd ( along with most of the Hawks) and a solid third. This is the year he would prove last year wasn't a fluke and he was worth a long term deal.

    Stan lost his cojones and got snookered, methinks. If it doesn't pan out, good luck trying to trade him with that contract.

    On the bright side, it is a long way from the dumbest deal ever.

  • What's up with the Hawks and poor decisions with goalies? Crawford made it very clear that he wanted to stay in Chicago. I can't see him demanding that much to do so. Could it be possible some other team showed interest in CC and had big numbers in mind? Nothing really makes sense in this deal... except that he did win the Cup...

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