Crawford 'pretty devastated' over not being re-signed by Blackhawks
Stunned. Sad. Disappointed.
Corey Crawford felt all of those emotions and more last week when general manager Stan Bowman informed him that the Blackhawks would be going a different direction in net.
"Emotions were all over the place," Crawford said during a Zoom call with reporters Saturday, less than 12 hours after agreeing to a two-year, $7.8 million deal with the New Jersey Devils. "Obviously I was pretty devastated to get the news about not returning to Chicago.
"That's all I've known for my whole career. ... They just wanted to go a different way."
Crawford said the Hawks' initial offer was for one year at $3 million. After that, there was very little -- if any -- negotiation.
"We didn't go back and forth at all," Crawford said. "So it kind of just ended there. Not much more I can say about that."
The 35-year-old goaltender was immediately flooded with calls and texts once the news broke.
Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Andrew Shaw and others reached out.
"Everyone was pretty shocked," Crawford said. "But we've had it happen before with Shaw and (Niklas) Hjalmarsson throughout the years. That's sports.
"I never really thought I would be a part of that, but here we are. So it's time to move on."
And to a team that is currently at the bottom of the NHL. The Devils finished 14th out of 16 teams in the Eastern Conference last season with a 28-29-12 record. Three goaltenders started at least 11 games, combining for a sickly 3.08 goals-against average.
There is some talent here, however, in forwards Kyle Palmeri (25 goals), Nico Hischier (21) and Jack Hughes -- the No. 1 pick of the 2019 draft. P.K. Subban is the leader of a group of underwhelming defensemen.
Crawford says it's a team on the rise, however, and hopes he can be part of a resurgence similar to the one Kane, Toews, Keith and Seabrook led in 2009 with the Hawks.
"They're very underrated and things change pretty quick in the NHL," Crawford said. "The Hawks did it. They had a young group too and they got good pretty fast. Colorado did the same thing.
"It's a group that can definitely do the same thing."
A few teams reached out to Crawford at the start of free agency Friday. What he didn't realize was that a decision needs to be made rather quickly or offers are pulled off the table.
"You don't really get a chance to think about stuff and I'm the type of guy that needs to think things through," Crawford said. "A few offers left pretty quick.
"I talked to Jersey a few times throughout the day and it seemed like they had the best fit, and they were the most interested. So I was really happy about that and happy about the opportunity."
As for returning to the United Center for the first time? Well, we don't know if that will happen this season because of the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus.
Whether if it does happen -- this season or next -- Crawford knows it won't be easy.
"I can't even imagine what it'll be like," he said. "Spending your whole career there it's hard to really say what you're going to think or how you're gonna feel.
"Hopefully things will be back to normal and we'll be able to go there with a full building. Obviously it'll be weird and emotional."
By the numbersSome facts on Corey Crawford's tenure with the Blackhawks:
1: Where he ranks in career save percentage (.918) and goals-against average (2.45)
2: Stanley Cups won
3: Where he ranks on team's all-time wins list (260)
7: Career high shutouts, set in 2015-16
10: Seasons as starter
35: Career high victories, set in 2015-16
52: Postseason victories, a franchise high
488: Games played (third behind only Glenn Hall (618) and Tony Esposito (873)).