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Crawford Expected to Take Home-Town Discount to Stay With Blackhawks

If Corey Crawford is looking to stay with the Chicago Blackhawks, it sounds like the team expects him to take a pretty hefty paycut.

When Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman addressed the media Friday, he made two things abundantly clear. One, he wasn’t going to talk about the futures of his players and their contracts. Two, he was saying a lot in his general statements about the approach the Chicago Blackhawks were going to take moving forward.

“I don’t have any announcements to make on what we’re going to do,” Bowman said. “We have an idea of what we want to do, and now we’re gonna talk to the agents and see where that goes.”

Specifically, media wanted to know about the plans for goaltender Corey Crawford. A pending unrestricted free agent, Crawford’s future in Chicago is anything but clear and if he’s looking to make close to the $6 million he’s been making per season in seasons past, he may have to move on.

Blackhawks Looking At Home-Town Discounts

Bowman discussed the importance of familiarity with your surroundings and the desire to stay with one team and how that can affect a player’s willingness to accept a bit less to stay put. He noted some players will take home-town discounts, while he said some players “look at moving as an adventure.”

Hinting that the process can be daunting, it seemed easy to read between the lines. The expectation here is that if Crawford would rather not put up with the arduous task of having to find a new home, get used to new surroundings and leave a coaching staff and team he knows quite well, he’ll need to drop his asking price (assuming he’s submitted one).

John Dietz of the Daily Herald writes:

For Crawford to return, he will likely have to sign for less than the $6 million a year he made on his last contract. Some are speculating the number could be as low as $3 million, but a more realistic number is in the $4.5 million to $5 million range.

It’s not shocking to know that players might have to lower their expectations in a flat salary cap 2020-21 season, but that’s a pretty big discount the Blackhawks are potentially asking Crawford to simply accept.

It’s not likely he does so without at least testing the market first. That said, in a flooded market that is full of goalies also trying to make the most of a bad situation, where Crawford lands is unclear.

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