Corey Crawford not talking contract
CHICAGO -- The agent for Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford says he and the team will wait until the end of the season to discuss a contract extension for the upcoming restricted free agent.
"[General manager] Stan Bowman phoned me and we talked and I told him we are going to wait until the end of the season," Gilles Lupien said in a phone interview.
Bowman confirmed in a recent interview on Comcast Sportsnet that he had reached out to Lupien but a deal will have to wait until the offseason.
"We want to let him concentrate on hockey," Crawford's agent said.
Crawford is on board with that strategy as well.
"I've talked with my agent a couple of times this year and we just kind of went back and forth on different scenarios," Crawford said Monday morning. "We pretty much just said focus on hockey and we'll work on that when it's time."
Crawford is 29-15 with four shutouts. His 2.27 goals against average ranks seventh in the NHL.
"It does kind of bounce in the back of my head from time to time because obviously this is a great place to play," Crawford stated. "I've thought about it but right now it's crunch time and so much is going on, it's hockey, hockey, hockey."
This time last year nobody would have thought that Crawford would be the Hawks' No. 1 netminder. Antti Niemi was on his way to leading the team to a Stanley Cup championship, but when an arbitrator handed him a salary higher than the team was comfortable with after the season, the Hawks let him walk.
The Blackhawks then signed free agent Marty Turco, but the former Stars great struggled, opening the door for Crawford to go from backup to full-time starter.
Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPNChicago.com.