In my last two articles, I went over what the Carolina Hurricanes’ cap situation looks like and who they may be able to deal to create cap space. So now, over the next week or so, I’ll be looking at six potential free agents who the Hurricanes could look to target. Going alphabetically, the first free agent will be Corey Crawford.
Chicago reportedly offered Crawford offered $3.5 million on a one-year deal to return for the 2020-21 season, according to Scott Powers of The Athletic. However, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, the two sides weren’t on the same page regarding the dollar value of the contract. Should he head to free agency, Carolina should at least test the waters and considering they had reached out to the Blackhawks at the deadline about trading for either Crawford or Robin Lehner, the team likely still has some interest.
Obviously, this would be a risky signing, especially if the Hurricanes would be relying on Crawford as a starter. But if he can stay relatively healthy, he would be a really solid addition for whatever team he ends up with. He had a .917 save percentage while playing behind a team that isn't great defensively, proving that he can still be an effective NHL goalie. Remember, aside from a down year in 2018-19, he's posted at least a .917 save percentage in seven of the last eight seasons.
One clear argument against this signing would be that Crawford would is a short-term solution and that's completely right. If the Hurricanes have the option to get a long-term solution in net, they have to take it. However, despite the deep goalie market, there aren’t a whole lot of goalies younger than 30 years old available, aside from Matt Murray.
I’m not saying Crawford is the ideal free agent goalie but if it comes down to just keeping Petr Mrazek and James Reimer, who are both on expiring contracts anyways, it may be worth taking the risk on Crawford with a one-year deal. If other options aren't available, bringing in Crawford would give the Hurricanes a year to regroup with improved goaltending, before looking to add a long-term solution in net in 2021.
It would be weird to see Crawford in anything other than a Blackhawks jersey- in kind of a reverse Cam Ward situation- but if he hits the market, he could be a Plan B option for the Hurricanes. Crawford is still a quality goalie when healthy and behind Carolina’s defense, he could find success. He knows what it takes to win a Stanley Cup and could be a decent option in net for the Hurricanes to make a playoff run in 2020-21.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
If it came down to signing Corey Crawford to a one-year deal or simply keeping the Mrazek/Reimer tandem, which would you prefer?