Corey Crawford IS an elite goalie

TSN just published it’s Top 50 NHL players list for 2015-16. There are 5 goalies in the top 50. In order (with overall ranking in parentheses):

  • Carey Price (3)
  • Henrik Lundqvist (25)
  • Pekka Rinne (29)
  • Jonathan Quick (35)
  • Braden Holtby (49)

It’s clear Crawford will never be recognized as elite as long as he continues to play with an excellent defense and a powerful offense (that plays a very responsible defensive game).  But Crawford has two Stanley Cups.  Of those top 5 goalies, Jonathan Quick has two Cups, and no one else has any.

In 2014-15, Crawford finished with an outstanding .924 save percentage and tied with Carey Price to win the Jennings Trophy for fewest goals allowed. Crawford’s save percentage was better, though just slightly, than Lundqvist, Rinne, Holtby and Quick.  Crawford’s goals against average was lower than those four, but just slightly.

In the playoffs, Crawford had a shaky start in the Nashville series, but returned to beat Rinne in game 6, and then was excellent the rest of the post-season, again posting a .924 save percentage despite the slow start.  He also had two shutouts, including in the Stanley Cup winning game 6.  A strong case can be made that Crawford deserved the Conn Smythe trophy in 2013 when he had a .932 save percentage in the playoffs along with a 1.84 goals against average.

Those five goalies picked in TSN’s top 50 are all excellent choices, but I don’t know if the Blackhawks could have won their last two Stanley Cups without Crawford.  He’s a top 5 goalie in my book.

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