Corey Crawford is one of the best players in Chicago Blackhawks history.
The Chicago Blackhawks have been lucky to draft and develop some all-time great players during the 21st century. They have had studly skaters like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook but Corey Crawford was just as important in goal. He wasn’t the goaltender for the core’s first cup in 2010 but he was a huge part of it in 2013 and 2015. They were also a wildly successful team during those years in between but fell just short. Without elite goaltending, it is impossible to have sustained success.
On Saturday morning, Corey Crawford retired from the National Hockey League. During the offseason, he signed a two-year deal with the New Jersey Devils after the Blackhawks let him go. He never played a game with New Jersey and only participated in a few practices. He had missed the last few practices leading up to his retirement due to personal reasons. Hopefully, everything is okay with him and his family.
Crawford is one of the best players in the history of the Blackhawks. He was never the number one best goalie in the league but he was the most consistent elite goalie. He won the Stanley Cup twice and the Jennings Trophy twice. He has also had three top-ten finishes for the Vezina Trophy as the best goalie in the league.
He finishes his career with 488 regular-season games and 96 playoff games over 13 seasons with Chicago. His final regular-season numbers are very nice as he had a 2.45 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage. He was 260-162-53 in his career as a starter. There is no doubt that it was a great career and the Hawks were lucky to have him.
All good things come to an end and that was the case with his Blackhawks tenure. The Hawks weirdly wanted to see what they have in the younger guys and Crawford left. It would have been nice to see him play for the Devils where his hero, Martin Brodeur, played but it just isn’t going to be the case.
It will be interesting to see if he ever gets consideration for the Hall of Fame but the Blackhawks need to honor him in every way possible. They need to retire his number, give him one last skate, and all of the things teams do for their all-time greats. He was as important to their success as any player over a long period of time. He deserves respect from everyone in the Chicago sports fandom because he helped bring hockey to the forefront in a city that was starving for a winner.