Blackhawks: Does Corey Crawford return for 2021?

Corey Crawford #50, Chicago Blackhawks (Getty Images)
Corey Crawford #50, Chicago Blackhawks (Getty Images) /

After losing in Game 5, the Chicago Blackhawks’ season is over. Now, it’s time to look towards the offseason, along with the 2020-21 NHL season.

Do the Chicago Blackhawks bring back Corey Crawford in 2021? That should be the top question on everyone’s mind. After the way he played from Game 2 until game 5 in this past series, he should come back.

Crawford kept the Blackhawks in every game, with him playing the majority of the playoff games at an elite level. He got better as the series went on against Edmonton and again against Vegas. The team just didn’t do enough to help him out against Vegas. That’s why they lost.

If Crawford doesn’t re-sign for at least 1 more season, this team really has no goalie, unless they find someone in free agency. They should let Malcolm Subban leave, as he is an RFA, so they’ll get a draft pick for him if a team picks him up. Crawford, if he will take a discount, needs to be re-signed. Chicago cannot afford to pay him his current salary if they want to re-sign some of the younger players. It just isn’t possible.

Along with Crawford being re-signed, the team needs to look at a younger goalie in free agency or keep bring up Collin Delia, who can split games with Crawford.

Collin Delia has been considered the future goalie of the Blackhawks. If Delia is truly the future goalie of this team, expect to see him in net next season. My only issue with Delia is, if he isn’t the guy, the Blackhawks set themselves back another season, which is wasting another year of Kane and Toews. We just don’t know what we get with Delia. We cannot look at what he did a year ago, as he was younger and clearly wasn’t ready to be an NHL starter.

Chicago knows what they have with Crawford. He is past his prime and might not have another Stanley Cup left in him, but he can split time with a younger goalie and win some games. The question is, is that goalie going to be Delia or will they get a younger goalie in free agency?

Crawford is a safe bet to keep with the team. There’s just no way to know if he will continue to play at a decent level while stepping up as he did in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Eventually, they’ll need to add another goalie to the team. If Delia is the backup next season, does Kevin Lankenin get groomed to be Delia’s backup in 2022?

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We’ll know more in the coming weeks. There’s a solid list of younger goalies who are free agents during the offseason. Does Chicago take a chance on them and get rid of Crawford? Do they keep Crawford and bring up Delia? It’s just a matter of time before we see. No matter what the team chooses, it’ll divide the fanbase, for sure.