New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald addressed another need in the roster late Friday night by signing an experienced veteran, Corey Crawford. Crawford was the former netminder for the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Devils bought out Cory Schneider on Thursday which left a hole in the roster. The Crawford signing filled that hole. Crawford will share the net with the promising 23-year-old, Mackenzie Blackwood. This could be a very solid and reliable goalie tandem for the Devils in 2020-21.
The Devils signed Crawford to a two-year deal worth $7.8 million. The 35-year-old veteran will earn $3.6 million in the upcoming season and will make $4.2 million next season. The Blackhawks offered Crawford a one year deal with a large pay cut, but he turned it down. Crawford also had a good season in 2019-20. He had a 92.6% save percentage in 5-on-5, and a high-danger save percentage of 86.4% (per Natural Stat Trick). Crawford also has a career record of 260-162-53. Crawford also is a 2-time Stanley Cup champion with Chicago.
The first day of free agency on Friday was a wild one, with many goalies going to new places. Henrik Lundqvist signed with the Washington Capitals, Braden Holtby to Vancouver, Jacob Markstrom to the Flames, and Cam Talbot going to Minnesota. Thomas Greiss also is signing with the Detroit Red Wings, and Anton Khudobin stayed put in Dallas.
The Devils still have other needs to address during free agency, but in my opinion, this was a great move to start. Corey Crawford can be a great mentor to Mackenzie Blackwood, and he is a very reliable option along with Blackwood. It is going to be exciting to watch Blackwood build on a great 2019-20 and with a new face in Crawford right next to him. The 2020-21 NHL season is targeted to begin on January 1st, 2021.