After two concussion-plagued seasons that Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford has gone through, much doubt has been cast on whether the two-time Jennings Trophy winner might be able to bounce back and become the team’s No. 1 goaltender again. The Blackhawks even took another step to insure themselves against another injury this summer when it signed Masterson and Jennings Trophy winner Robin Lehner to share the net. However, NHL.com’s Chris Kuk writes that Crawford said he feels great and is ready to continue his career.
“You kind of have an idea if you’ve been injured enough of what he’s feeling and just the constant, over and over and over,” Crawford said. “That’s what it is. You have to have that will to battle back and go through it again during those tough days. So, right now, I still have that will to keep pushing and get back to where I need to be.”
The Blackhawks will wait and see how Crawford fares this season before deciding on his long-term future. His six-year, $36MM deal will expire at the end of this season and with Lehner also signed to a one-year deal, Chicago will likely choose between the two netminders next summer. Regardless, Crawford says he is eager to play in the future.
“I would like to keep playing,” Crawford said. “This is like the first time for me to be in this situation and I haven’t really thought about it that much to be honest. It’s just kind of, play the next game. I think my play and my health will probably determine my future here, for sure, like it always has. If you’re not at the right level and the team feels like you’re not helping then the chances are you won’t stay here. That’s good. I’ve always been a competitive guy, confident in what I can do. It’s another challenge.”
- The Chicago Tribune’s Jimmy Greenfield writes that Chicago Blackhawks first-round pick Kirby Dach (third-overall) made his on-ice debut Friday in training camp after having to sit out with a concussion that he sustained in the final game of the NHL Prospect Tournament. While there was no guarantee that Dach would have made the opening night roster anyway, it would seem more challenging now. However, Chicago head coach Jeremy Colliton said that Dach is still being considered for a roster spot even though he missed a week of training camp and four preseason games. If he doesn’t make the team, the Blackhawks will have to return him to his junior team in the WHL.
- Michael Russo of The Athletic (subscription required) writes that Minnesota Wild forward Kevin Fiala, who finally signed his deal on Sept. 11, finally arrived in training camp Saturday after spending this whole time filling out paperwork so he can work in North America. He is expected to undergo medical tests and will fly with the team in Colorado where head coach Bruce Boudreau will determine whether he plays Sunday or whether he will wait to put Fiala into the lineup next Thursday in Dallas.
- The Dallas Stars have two top prospects in similar situations who have impressed in training camp in Ty Dellandrea and Thomas Harley. Both players are likely ready for the next step in their development, but the both must either make the Dallas squad or be returned to their junior team as the AHL is not an option for the two. However, NHL.com’s Mike Heika writes because of that, he would be surprised if Dallas keeps either on the roster.