The Chicago Blackhawks have come to terms on a six-year contract extension with goaltender Corey Crawford, the team announced on Monday morning. Crawford was entering the final year of a three-year, $8 million contract that carried an annual average value of $2.6 million against the salary cap, according to CapGeek.com. The 28-year-old goaltender was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2013-14 season.
Crawford will earn $36 million over the course of the deal, according to Renaud Lavoie. That will amount to an annual average value of $6 million against the salary cap.
The synthesis of this extension is interesting to consider. Crawford entered the year as an unproven goaltender and ended it with 23 playoff starts and a Stanley Cup championship. One would venture to guess that the latter aided in his ability to acquire the term on the deal.
Over the course of his career, Crawford has posted a .913 save percentage with a 2.40 goals against average. He made 30 appearances in 2013 and registered a career-high 57 appearances in the two previous seasons.
Crawford's .926 save percentage and 1.94 goals against average last season were both career-high totals (he registered a .929 save percentage in 2007-08 over the span of five appearances). Ray Emery, Crawford's backup last season, registered a .922 save percentage and 1.94 goals against average over 21 appearances last season. Emery also received a new contract this offseason -- a one-year, $1.5 million agreement with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Given the talent level of the Blackhawks roster, it's easy to question how Crawford would fare backing a different team. Of course, it's a non-issue now because Crawford will be dressing for Chicago for the next seven-years.
Given the term and financials of the deal, Chicago obviously believes Crawford is capable of extending his success in future campaigns. Considering most teams attempt to negotiate bridge contracts, it's interesting that the Blackhawks were willing to be as aggressive as they were in making a commitment to Crawford, especially when considering the shortened 2013 season.