Jun 24, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) hoists the Stanley Cup after game six of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. The Blackhawks won 3-2 to win the series four games to two. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Over/Under previews are typically a ballpark idea of how a player will perform in the upcoming season. Usually, they are fairly accurate, but it’s not an exact science, more of an educated guess. When it comes to Corey Crawford, the newly heralded, and newly extended Stanley Cup champion goaltender of the Chicago Blackhawks, it’s anyone’s guess how his 2013-2014 season will go. Here we will try and give reasons why he could be great, and why he could be terrible.
Goaltending is arguably one of THE most unpredictable and finicky positions in all of professional sports, as this previous article delves into a bit deeper. Corey Crawford has exemplified that statement as well as any goaltender possibly can.
In the 2010-2011 season, Crawford won over the respect and admiration, amongst hawks fans, as he usurped Marty Turco from the starting goaltender throne. Here is Crawford’s 2010-2011 stat line:
Games Played- 57 Record- 33-18-6 Goals Against Average- 2.30 Save Percentage- 0.917 Shutouts- 4
As you can see, Corey eased the anxieties that Hawks fans were dealing with, after Antti Niemi left for the San Jose Sharks, and after Turco failed to find his stride.
The 2011-2012 season would be a different story.
Going into that season, fans felt very safe with the goaltending situation, as Crawford proved himself as a solid NHL goaltender, in the previous season. As they often do with goaltenders, things didn’t exactly go according to plan.
Here is Crawford’s 2011-2012 stat line:
Games Played- 57 Record- 30-17-7 Goals Against Average- 2.72 Save Percentage- 0.903 Shutouts- 0
As you can see, Crawford’s play took a step back, after a very good season. He failed to make several clutch saves, and bailed out his defense, and once again Hawks fans were left lost, and hoping for a new goaltender.
Crawford once again relieved the fears, and worries of Hawks fans with a stellar season in 2013.
Crawford in 2013:
Games Played- 30 Record- 19-5-5 Goals Against Average- 1.94 Save Percentage- 0.926 Shutouts- 3
That’s one heck of a way to silence doubters. Also, the stellar playoff run, and Stanley Cup Championship also helped.
After winning the cup, Hawks’ General Manager secured Crawford as the Hawks goaltender for the next six years, with a six year thirty-six million dollar contract extension.
Like I said with goaltenders, it’s just so hard to predict. One noticeable trend to be seen, during Crawford’s young NHL career, is that he thrives in uncertainty, and he has struggled with certainty
2010-2011: Niemi leaves, Turco struggles, and Crawford saves the day.
2011-2012: Crawford struggles, clearly loses confidence as well as fan support, and the Hawks end the season with a 2nd straight 1st round exit from the playoffs.
2013: Crawford stuns Hawks Nation and hockey world with elite play, remarkable season, and a Stanley Cup Championship.
Going into 2013-2014, there has never been more certainty in Crawford’s young career, and that will be something to keep in mind, as his performance is evaluated, during the season. Keep in mind however, that any analysis of Crawford’s career thus far, is to be taken with a grain of salt, as it is such a small sample size, and he should have plenty of time to buck any trend that has presented itself, throughout his career.
My prediction for Corey Crawford in 2013-2014:
Games Played- 60-65 Wins- 40-45 Goals Against Average- 2.30 Save Percentage- 0.915-0.920 Shutouts- 4
I predict Crawford will carry a larger workload than he has in his entire career, and I think he will have a fine season. I’m not leaving out the possibility of things going horribly wrong for him either, as I still stick by my feelings about the unpredictability of the goalie position. Confidence shouldn’t be an issue for Crawford, as he played great last season en route to a Stanley Cup Championship, and a cozy new contract.
I think Crawford will play well with all the comfort in the world on his side.
What do you predict for Crawford?