The New Jersey Devils have jumped into the free agent mix with their first signing of the day, and it’s a big one. Corey Crawford has signed a two-year contract with the team, joining Mackenzie Blackwood as a formidable tandem in net. Crawford’s new deal will have an average annual value of $3.9MM. Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald released a statement on his new netminder:
We are excited to bring Corey into our organization, as he is a proven winner and two-time Stanley Cup Champion. We will look to him to assume a leadership role and be a strong presence for our young core. Crawford’s compete level and ability to battle will rub off on the entire group. This opportunity also provides him with a new challenge in his career.
Crawford will earn $3.6MM in 2020-21 and $4.2MM in 2021-22. He leaves Chicago after nearly 600 games, including the 96 postseason matches that landed him and the organization two Stanley Cup championships. The 35-year-old goaltender has dealt with concussion issues and a revolving door of teammates, but still managed to put up at least a .917 save percentage in nine of his 13 seasons with the Blackhawks.
In New Jersey, he won’t be the full-time starter, even though he’s likely going to be paid substantially more than Blackwood. The 23-year-old is the heir to the crease for the Devils, but is also a restricted free agent without arbitration rights this offseason. He’ll now have a mentor to work alongside as New Jersey attempts to continue to build a team around Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes and others. Crawford will get a chance to play a lot and prove he still has game, especially in a condensed 2020-21 season where both goaltenders will be needed frequently.