Corey Crawford agreed to terms on a two-year, $7.8 million contract with the New Jersey Devils on Friday. It has an average annual value on $3.9 million.
The 35-year-old goalie was 16-20-3 with a 2.77 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and one shutout in 40 games (39 starts) with the Chicago Blackhawks last season and 4-5 with a 3.31 GAA and .907 save percentage in nine postseason games.
In late August, when discussing a possible return to Chicago, Crawford said, “The main thing is to win a championship, to play, to be the main guy and play a lot. Salary, that can be discussed. That’s something that is not as important at this time. We’ll see how those discussions go.”
New Jersey (28-29-12, .493) finished 14th in the 16-team Eastern Conference last season, with 23-year-old Mackenzie Blackwood making 43 starts, taking over as its No. 1 goalie from Cory Schneider. Blackwood was 22-14-9 with a 2.7 GAA and .915 save percentage.
A two-time Stanley Cup champion (2013, 2015), Crawford is 52-42 with a 2.38 GAA, .918 save percentage and five shutouts in 96 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
He missed a total of 80 games over the previous two seasons because of concussions, and missed all but the final day of Chicago’s Return to Play training camp this season after testing positive for COVID-19.
Crawford had split time with goalie Robin Lehner, who was signed as a free agent on July 1, 2019, until Feb. 24, when the Blackhawks traded Lehner to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who then traded him to the Vegas Golden Knights. Crawford started the final 10 regular-season games for the Blackhawks and was 6-4-0.
“I could understand their point of view (on signing Lehner), with me having a couple of injuries when I was out for a long period of time,” Crawford said. “But when I’m back healthy, I expect to play most of the games. It was nice to get back into net consistently and play well toward the end of the season, for sure.
“It’s just little details, little things throughout the game are easier to come by when you’re playing a ton. I think for me it’s just if we’re going to sign again, it’s the amount of time I’m going to be on the ice and how much I can contribute.”
Selected by Chicago in the second round (No. 52) of the 2003 NHL Draft, Crawford is 260-162-53 with a 2.45 GAA, .918 save percentage and 26 shutouts in 488 games (474 starts) in 13 NHL seasons.