In what has to be viewed as a surprisingly low deal per season, goaltender Corey Crawford has signed a two-year contract with the New Jersey Devils for only $3.9 million per season.
Crawford was a top-10 goalie last season. As far as tandems go, Blackwood / Crawford is going to be one of the better ones in the NHL next season.
After buying out the contract of Cory Schneider, the Devils were in the market for a goaltender. A number of the high-profile names came off the board early, including Braden Holtby going to Vancouver, Jacob Markstrom going to Calgary, Cam Talbot going to Minnesota and Henrik Lundqvist to the Washington Capitals. That left Crawford and the Devils to find each other on a deal that seems to come out of left field.
Crawford walked away from the Blackhawks and speculation is the team offered close to, if not better money than this deal, so it’s a bit of a head-scratcher. Surely, the Devils are happy with the deal. Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald released a statement about the signing:
We are excited to bring Corey into our organization, as he is a proven winner and two-time Stanley Cup Champion. We will look to him to assume a leadership role and be a strong presence for our young core. Crawford’s compete level and ability to battle will rub off on the entire group. This opportunity also provides him with a new challenge in his career.
Crawford put up a .917 save percentage on a less-than stellar Blackhawks team. The league average was .905 and it’s interesting to see that he had to settle for a lot less than some of the other deals given out in free agency on Friday. This is a goaltender who has a career .918 SV% and Stanley Cups on his resume.
Crawford Gets His Playing Time
One of the things that might have sealed the deal for Crawford was the amount of playing time he’s about to get in New Jersey. He noted he was a more productive goalie when he played more and he wanted to go to a team where he would get the majority of the starts.
“We will look to him to assume a leadership role and be a strong presence for our young core,” Fitzgerald said. He added, “Crawford’s compete level and ability to battle will rub off on the entire group. This opportunity also provides him with a new challenge in his career.”
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