Devils shrewdly sign Corey Crawford for two years, $7.8M
The New Jersey Devils unexpectedly made one of the best goalkeeping signings on a net-less heavy first day of the 2020 NHL Free Agency by snapping up Corey Crawford. The Devils signed a manageable two-year deal worth $ 7.8 million with Crawford.
That's a cap hit of $ 3.9 million that runs through 2021-22. (The Devils stated that Crawford's salary would increase from $ 3.6 million in 2020-21 to $ 4.2 million in 2021-22.)
"We are excited to add Corey to our organization as he is a proven winner and two-time Stanley Cup champion," said Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald. “We will expect him to take on a leadership role and be a strong presence for our young core. Crawford's level of competition and ability to fight will have an impact on the whole group. This opportunity also presents him with a new challenge in his career. "
Devils sign Corey Crawford and could end up with a strong goalkeeping duo
If you think the momentum can carry over from a strong ending to a season, the Crawford and Mackenzie Blackwood combo could plague opponents in 2020-21.
If you look at Crawford's 0.917 percent saving from last season, you are probably already impressed. Especially since he made it behind a Blackhawks defense that was one of the seediest in the NHL.
However, as you zoom in, it gets more impressive. As of January, Crawford's savings percentage did not go below 0.927.
(Honestly, if the Blackhawks could have brought Crawford back for a hair under $ 4 million a season, it's disappointing they let him go. Unless they actually want to "fill up". Then maybe it was wise, though cynical.)
If you hadn't paid attention to the lowly devils, you might have missed how hot Blackwood got in late 2019-20.
After making a mediocre savings of 0.905 percent in 35 games before the All-Star break, Blackwood set an impressive 8-2-2 record with savings of 0.937 percent in his last 12 games. (Crawford after All-Star Break: 0.927 percent in 15 games played.)
Much like Crawford, Blackwood completed this run on a Devils team that was struggling mightily.
The 35 year old Crawford can look after the 23 year old Blackwood. With the way the NHL is shifting, especially given a potentially shortened schedule, moves make perfect sense.
Of course there is some risk involved with Crawford including his 35+ contract status. The Devils also have yet to resolve Blackwood's situation as he is currently an RFA.
But compared to Cory Schneider sitting sadly on her cap, the devils can now turn the page. And the Devils could end up with one of the better goalkeeping combinations in the NHL after signing Crawford.
(Of course, Schneider also shows us how quickly a goalkeeper's game can fall apart. Who knows?)
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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk for NBC Sports. Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.
Devils sent Corey Crawford to sign for two years. $ 7.8 million originally appeared on NBCSports.com
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