After winning the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, goaltender Antti Niemi promptly left Chicago due to the Blackhawks’ cap restraints. He was replaced by Corey Crawford and who just helped Chicago reclaim the Cup and this time, the team will be keeping its victorious goaltender for a very long time.
The Blackhawks announced that they have signed Crawford to a six-year contract extension. The financial terms of the deal were not released, but along with the season left in his previous contract, the 28-year-old netminder is now under Chicago’s control through the 2019-20 campaign.
Update: Crawford’s new six-year deal is worth $36 million, according to Renaud Lavoie. To give some perspective, Crawford’s $6 million cap hit ranks below Pekka Rinne and Tuukka Rask, who both come with a $7 million cap hit in their respective long-term deals, and above Mike Smith’s roughly $5.7 million annual cap hit as well as Jimmy Howard’s cost of about $5.3 million.
This is an obvious risk for the Blackhawks, given that just a year ago, Crawford was seen as Chicago’s biggest X-factor after his rough sophomore campaign. Even after posting a 1.94 GAA and .926 save percentage in 30 regular season games in 2013 and putting up similar numbers in the playoffs, Crawford wasn’t able to fully shake off his critics.
If Crawford regresses or simply doesn’t age well, this contract could severely limit Chicago’s chances of winning another Cup with its current core. On the other hand, if Crawford’s success in the shortened campaign was any indication of what’s to come, then he could be a key member of the next NHL dynasty.
The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.
Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.
That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.
If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.
The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have claimed one of the more intriguing players placed on waivers — former Vancouver defenseman Frank Corrado.
Corrado, 22, was waived by the Canucks on Monday. The former OHL standout had appeared in 28 career games for Vancouver — including 10 last year — but was squeezed out of an NHL spot following the emergence of Ben Hutton, who surprised many onlookers by making the 23-man roster.
Canucks GM Jim Benning will receive criticism for losing an asset like Corrado for nothing. Several Vancouver pundits warned of exposing a young, promising d-man to waivers and those warnings ultimately proved accurate.
With Toronto, Corrado could push for playing time as the club indicated on Monday veteran d-man Sephane Robidas wouldn’t be with the team to start the year. That would leave the the Leafs with seven healthy blueliners: Dion Phaneuf, Jake Gardiner, Roman Polak, Morgan Rielly, Matt Hunwick, Martin Marincin and Scott Harrington, who can go to the minors without having to clear waivers.
Petter Granberg, another defenseman, is currently on IR.
In a corresponding move to the Corrado claim, the Leafs put forward Richard Panik on waivers. Panik, who Toronto plucked off waivers from Tampa Bay last year, appeared in 76 games for the Leafs, scoring 11 goals and 17 points.