When Stan Bowman addressed the media Friday, the Chicago Blackhawks general manager made it quite clear he wasn’t going to comment on the team’s plans regarding their goaltending situation and in particular, longtime goaltender Corey Crawford.
Crawford, who hits unrestricted free agency at the age of 35, finds himself in a unique position. He could choose to stay or go, but no matter what, he isn’t likely to meet his 2019-20 salary of $6MM. While Bowman didn’t want to comment on what the teams plans are regarding their goaltending, he did remark that some players might be willing to take a home-town discount to stay with the team. Obviously, Chicago hopes that Crawford might be willing to accept that, according to John Dietz of the Daily Herald.
“It’s fair to say that there is a value to a situation where you’ve been around, not just the city, but coaching staff, players, the whole (thing),” Bowman said. “You’ve lived this. You also have time outside that you’re going to have to experience in a new city. Some people may look at moving as an adventure. Others, it’s daunting. I don’t try to figure that out. That’s something players will have to decide on their own.”
The team hopes to make an even bigger mark in the playoffs next year, but really don’t have a starting caliber goaltender under contract for next year unless they can convince Crawford to re-sign with the team. He finished the season with a 2.77 GAA and a solid .917 save percentage in 40 appearances during the regular season. His numbers weren’t as solid in the playoffs as he finished with a 3.31 GAA and a .907 save percentage.
- The Vancouver Canucks will have to go without one of their top scorers for another game as Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy reports that Tyler Toffoli will be out for Game 1 against the Golden Knights Sunday with a lower-body injury. The 28-year-old has only made one playoff appearance so far this postseason. He did tally six goals and 10 points in 10 games after being acquired by the Canucks. TSN’s Rick Dhaliwal reports that both Toffoli and defenseman Tyler Myers (also out Sunday) are both getting closer to being ready. However, TSN’s Matthew Sekeres reports that Myers will likely need at least a week before being able to return with a Game 3 or 4 return potentially possible.
- The Colorado Avalanche will be without a few players for Game 2 of the conference semifinals, according to head coach Jared Bednar. The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers reports that the team will be without goaltender Philipp Grubauer for Game 2 as Pavel Francouz will take over as the starter with Michael Hutchinson as his backup. The team is trying to bring in Hunter Miska into the bubble in Edmonton to serve as the team’s third goalie. Bednar also noted that defenseman Erik Johnson is probably out, while Matt Calvert is questionable to play.
- With the Tampa Bay Lightning having more size and strength on its side, NBC Sports’ Joe Haggerty reports that the Boston Bruins intend to start forward Nick Ritchie to their lineup to add some size of its own. He will likely fill in on the third line, dropping Sean Kuraly to the fourth line. Par Lindholm is expected to drop out of the lineup. The 24-year-old Ritchie does provide some size as he is 6-foot-2, 230 pounds and should make a physical difference against the Lightning. However, he hasn’t found the scoreboard yet with no points in four playoff games this year.