Stanley Cup Champion goalie Corey Crawford cashed in on June’s success, signing a brand new 6 year, $36M contract extension with Hawks. The contract will kick in after the 2013-14 season, since he has one year left on his current deal.
This contract vaults him into the upper echelon of goaltenders, joining the likes of Pekka Rinne, Tuukka Rask, Carey Price, Henrik Lundqvist, Cam Ward and Ryan Miller in the $6M club (in terms of cap hit). Although he may have won the Stanley Cup and had very good numbers in doing so, I find it tough to think that he is worth that money to that team, and in fact some of the goalies in that list already aren’t deserving of being in that club.
I wonder if the Hawks really learned anything after their previous Cup run where they had to part with a lot of key pieces due to salary cap restrictions. Yes, they did win the Cup again just two years later, but they did it by NOT overpaying Antti Niemi, who was in much the same situation in 2011 as Crawford was now in. The Hawks realized that with their core intact, they didn’t need a goalie to steal games, they needed a gatekeeper who wasn’t going to cost them games. Those types of goalies are not that hard to come by and certainly aren’t worth $6M per season. Ray Emery, who is just two years older, had a better winning percentage, identical GAA and slightly lower SP playing behind the same roster, and he signed for $1.65M.
The Hawks might not be in cap trouble this season, but in the next two years they have Niklas Hjalmarsson, Andrew Shaw, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to re-sign, and although the Cap will rise, that is a lot of talent to re-up.
Crawford is a nice goalie, and has worked had and paid his time to get where he is. However, that is a lot of term and way too much money for a goaltender of his ilk, and before the deal is over, it is going to be one the Blackhawks will come to regret.