Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford: A Post-Lockout Stat Glance

By Colin Likas
Mar 12, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) makes a save during the third period against the Minnesota Wild at the United Center. Chicago won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 12, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) makes a save during the third period against the Minnesota Wild at the United Center. Chicago won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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Conclusions

I realize it’s really easy to get lost in these numbers and not entirely soak up what they mean. But I think all of these statistics represent an extremely fair argument that Crow is among the league’s best goaltenders and deserving of far more respect than he gets from some corners of his team’s fan base.

No, Crow doesn’t make a ton of super-fancy saves. His game is based on solid positioning and effectively using his pads (and therefore relying on his teammates). This was on prime display in Sunday’s win over Minnesota, when he made 42 saves on 44 shots.

But even if his style throws some fans, these numbers can’t. They prove he’s among the best going at his position, and has been for the last several seasons.

While some are willing to toss their hope in the corner of Scott Darling because he won’t cost as much (again, winners get paid everywhere), there’s nothing to suggest he can have nearly as much success over a larger stretch.

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  • Darling is having a really solid 2016-17 season. You can see his name atop the league’s save percentage leaders list today, in fact. But his sample size of games played, and the stats acquired in them, is so small and incomplete. He may not be nearly as effective as Crow has been, and the best offense in hockey has proven to be great defense.

    One more thing I want to throw at the Crow argument is the team surrounding him, specifically the defenders. This point gets brought up often, because Crow’s detractors will say those supporting him blame everything on the defense when games go against Chicago.

    While the 2013 season saw Crow playing behind vintage Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya, the seasons since have seen anything but.

    Keith, Seabrook and Hjammer have all spent time injured. Oduya has come, gone and come back (older and having gone through injuries). Michal Rozsival, Trevor van Riemsdyk, David Rundblad, Sheldon Brookbank, Mike Kostka, Adam Clendening, Kyle Cumiskey, Klas Dahlbeck, Kimmo Timonen, Trevor Daley, Christian Ehrhoff, Erik Gustafsson, Viktor Svedberg, Rob Scuderi, Brian Campbell and Michal Kempny are guys who have slotted in and out of the blue line.

    If you consider this mass of men something that is propping up Crow’s game night in and night out, I have no idea what to tell you aside from your view is misguided.

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    Let’s all give Crow his due until he gives us a reason not to. And even then, we should remember he’s been a key part of multiple highly successful Blackhawks team. Some fans have no problem holding this view for the guy behind the bench in Joel Quenneville, but won’t do so for one of the key on-ice contributors in Crow.

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