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