Goaltender Corey Crawford has announced his retirement from the NHL after 10 seasons and two Stanley Cup championships.
Crawford, from Chateauguay, Que., posted a franchise-record 52 playoff wins and led Chicago to Stanley Cup titles in 2013 and 2015.
In those championship years, he was the co-recipient of the William M. Jennings Trophy, awarded to the goaltender or goaltenders having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it.
The six-foot-two, 216-pound netminder posted a 260-162-53 record, a 2.45 goals-against average and .918 save percentage over 488 NHL appearances, all with Chicago.
The 36-year-old Crawford signed a two-year, US$7.8 million contract as a free agent with New Jersey in October, but announced Friday he was taking an indefinite leave of absence from the Devils for personal reasons.
Internationally, Crawford was part of Canada’s championship team at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
‘I’ve given all I can’
“I have been fortunate to have had a long career playing professional hockey for a living,” Crawford said in a statement. “I wanted to continue my career, but believe I’ve given all I can to the game of hockey, and I have decided that it is time to retire.
“I would like to thank the New Jersey Devils organization for understanding and supporting my decision. I would like to thank the Chicago organization for giving me the chance to live my childhood dream. I am proud to have been part of winning two Stanley Cups in Chicago.”
Chicago forward Patrick Kane called Crawford an exceptional player who always seemed in a good mood.
“Still feel that he’s playing at a really high level, going back to last year in the playoffs,” Kane said. “I guess just wish him all the best. Obviously, we’ll have conversations and talk to him, but sometimes there are bigger things than hockey.”
Chicago defenceman Duncan Keith could not say about good things about the goalie known as “Crow.”
“Everybody knows what he was able to do for us in net, especially during those playoff runs and the last several years here being the backbone of our team,” Keith said. “But he was always a great teammate and just one of those guys you never had to worry about. He was always ready to play in those big games.”
Crawford was selected in the second round, 52nd overall, by Chicago at the 2003 NHL draft. He played primarily in the American Hockey League in his first five pro seasons, making eight total NHL appearances before taking over full-time in 2010-11, when he also finished fourth in Calder Trophy voting.
He won 33 games and posting four shutouts with a .917 save percentage. in his rookie season.
He earned his first Jennings Trophy in 2012-13, together with teammate Ray Emery, for Chicago allowing the fewest goals thanks in part to his 1.94 goals-against average. That playoffs, he went 16-7 with a shutout and a 1.87 GAA and .932 save percentage as Chicago went on to win the Stanley Cup.
Crawford led Chicago to a tie with Montreal for the fewest goals allowed in 2014-15, earning his second Jennings Trophy along with Canadiens star Carey Price.
In the 2014-15 playoffs, Crawford helped lead Chicago to another Stanley Cup victory thanks to his 13 wins and two shutouts. He set career-best marks in 2015-16 in wins (35) and shutouts (7) while finishing fifth in Vezina Trophy voting.