The Chicago Blackhawks and goaltender Corey Crawford have agreed to a six-year, $36 million contract extension, the team announced on Monday. The contract will run through the end of the 2019-20 season.
Crawford started every playoff game for Chicago last season, helping the Blackhawks win their second Stanley Cup title in three years. He went 16-7 with an NHL-best 1.84 goals against average (GAA) in the postseason.
Crawford had originally come onto the scene in a big way during the 2010-11 season, when he outdueled veteran Marty Turco for the starting goaltender job and then nearly led the Hawks to a first round upset of the Vancouver Canucks in the playoffs.
Even still, the team still made it a point to bring in more veteran help for Crawford, and brought in Ray Emery to share the workload with him. The two slugged it out through the 2013 regular season for the starting job, but when Emery went down with a leg injury late in the season, Crawford snatched the job and led his team to the championship.
The 28-year-old Crawford was selected by Chicago in the second round of the 2003 draft. He made his NHL debut in January 2006, is 83-43 with eight shutouts, a 2.40 GAA and a .913 save percentage in 152 career games with the Blackhawks.
The 2013-14 campaign will be an interesting one for Crawford, considering that he won't have quite as good of a fallback option behind him as he did in previous years with newly-signed Nikolai Khabibulin likely only getting between 20-25 starts for the Hawks.
Factor in the addition of a new contract, and whether Crawford can respond to the new pressures will likely determine the fate of the Blackhawks in the upcoming season.