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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Crawford compiled a robust 16-9-2 record, 2.27 GAA and .929 save percentage in 28 appearances last season, but he was held out of the final 47 games due to an unspecified upper-body injury. The Blackhawks are still confident the 33-year-old netminder will be ready to resume his role as the team's starter in 2018-19, but Crawford didn't seem as optimistic, telling reporters in July that he wasn't sure if he'll be back to 100 percent for training camp in September. If the two-time Stanley Cup champion is healthy, he'll remain a top-tier option at his position, but Chicago brought in veteran netminder Cam Ward on a one-year, $3 million contract this offseason, which indicates there's at least some concern about the kind of workload Crawford will be able to handle after missing so much time. Fantasy owners should keep a close eye on Crawford's status heading into training camp; if he's ready to rock, he'll be a valuable piece for any virtual team, even if he's forced to take on a slightly smaller workload in 2018-19.
Crawford had another rock-solid season in 2016-17 in terms of wins and losses, compiling a 32-18-4 record over 55 appearances, but his ratios declined noticeably, as he finished the year with a 2.55 GAA and .918 save percentage after ending the previous campaign at 2.37 and .924. However, the decline in GAA and save percentage can largely be attributed to the goalie losing a bit of his rhythm after missing three weeks of action in December while recovering from an appendectomy, so it would hardly be surprising to see him return to form in those categories in 2017-18. The 32-year-old may also be tasked with shouldering a larger workload this season, as the departure of proven backup Scott Darling to Carolina via trade has left the Blackhawks with unproven Anton Forsberg as their backup netminder. That increased workload and Chicago’s ongoing dominance as an organization means Crawford could realistically break through the 35-win threshold this season, making him a highly desirable option in all fantasy formats.
Crawford had one of his best seasons as a full-time starter in 2015-16, setting new career highs in wins (35) and shutouts (7) while registering a respectable 2.37 GAA and an impressive .924 save percentage over 58 appearances. The 31-year-old backstop should be in line for at least 55 starts and 30 wins in 2016-17, while posting ratios similar to those he's delivered over the past three seasons. The Blackhawks wanted to improve their defensive corps in the offseason, and delivered with the signing of veteran defender Brian Campbell, an addition that will undoubtedly improve Chicago's play in the defensive zone this season, and help bolster Crawford's fantasy value. Crawford's innate ability, coupled with his role as a perennial powerhouse's starting netminder, make him a player fantasy owners won't regret snagging in this year's drafts.
Crawford had his moments -- good and bad -- last season, and there were times when it looked like his hold on the top job was slipping through his pads. But he battled his way to a Stanley Cup title, and that pretty much solidifies his hold on the job for 2015-16, at least to start the season. Coach Joel Quenneville isn’t afraid to throw Scott Darling between the pipes when Crawford goes cold. And Crawford will go cold at some point, if his history is any indication. But at the end of the day, Crawford should be in line for 55 starts, and the 30 wins that likely come with it, while delivering ratios just like he has over the last two seasons. That’s not enough to put him in the upper echelon of twinetenders, but it makes him a steady play behind a fantastic team.
Crawford might not have equaled his lockout season numbers in 2013-14, but he still ranks among the best netminders in the business. There doesn't seem to be anything that will slow him down, except injuries, of course. Expect him to start 55 to 60 games and finish in or around the league’s top 10 in wins, save percentage and GAA.
Crawford rewarded the Blackhawks' faith in him with an outstanding postseason run to the Stanley Cup. He and Ray Emery had battled for starts all season, with Crawford eventually getting the majority of starts because of an injury to Emery. But once he took over the net, Crawford never looked back. Overall, he had his best season in three years with a 1.94 goals against average and a .926 save percentage, and then topped that in the playoffs with a .932 save percentage and a 1.84 GAA. Oh yah -- and a Stanley Cup. He plays in a great system and has lots of support on a strong Hawks' squad. And his name has even been mentioned as a possibility for Team Canada's Olympic squad. You've come a long way, Corey Crawford. And he should be one of the better fantasy goalies this season.
Despite the talk of the Blackhawks trading for a goalie or signing a top free-agent twine tender, Crawford heads into camp as the number one goalie ... just like last season. And like last season, he should come out of the blocks as the top dog. Last season was a see-saw for him as he and back-up Ray Emery both ran hot and cold, but in the end, Crawford ended up with 55 starts -- the exact same number as in 2010-11. Unfortunately, his GAA and save percentage both took spikes, so there's a risk his leash is a bit shorter if Ray Emery stays healthy and can get hot. If so, we could see the same see-saw between the two men again this year and that makes Crawford a big risk as your number one man.
The Blackhawks were not expecting this from Corey Crawford last season, but he fulfilled the expectations of many who felt he was the team's goalie of the future. Crawford was 33-18-6 with a 2.30 goals against average and he buried the one-year goalie Marty Turco on the bench. For the first time Crawford is pegged as the starter in the preseason. Some will feel that his numbers will not improve in 2011-12, but the team went out and got some help for him with some muscle and veteran presence in front.
The departure of Antti Niemi should pave the way for Crawford to get more starts in the NHL. He sported a 24-16-2 record and a .909 save percentage while playing for the AHL's Rockford Ice Hogs in the 2009-10 season and appears ready to stop pucks on the big stage. Even playing second fiddle to newcomer Marty Turco, Crawford is someone to keep an eye on as an emerging goalie waiting in the wings.
Crawford is battling for the backup job with Antti Niemi behind Cristobal Huet. If he wins the job or gets the most time up with the big club, he could have a shot if Huet falls. The problem is that the Hawks have a lot of money invested in Huet. After seeing some time with the Hawks in 2007-08, the only ice time he got was a playoff game against the Red Wings where he gave up one goal and six saves.
Crawford came into the offseason believing that he would be backing up Khabibulin in 2008-09. His dreams were put on hold when the Hawks announced that they had signed Huet. Crawford is an NHL-ready goalie, but he won't see any action with the Hawks this year unless Khabibulin gets traded or there is an injury. Put him on your watch list, but don't expect too much from him until Huet goes down with an injury.
Crawford is tabbed as the goalie of the future for the Hawks. He had his best season to date with Norfolk, posting a 2.84 goals against average and a .909 save percentage. The Blackhawks are in a quandary regarding where Crawford will end up this season, since they've already got Nikolai Khabibulin as their No. 1 goaltender. If the Hawks have another non-playoff season, the team could ship Khabibulin out of town and go with the younger Crawford to further their rebuilding project.
Crawford will turn 22 in December and is considered the Blackhawks goalie of the future. Will most likely play at Norfolk this season, but is looked at as a possible future replacement for Nikolai Khabibulin in the nets. Was impressive in his two lone appearances for the Hawks in 2005-06.