Is Blackhawks' Corey Crawford an 'elite' NHL goalie?

Is Blackhawks' Corey Crawford an 'elite' NHL goalie?
January 20, 2014, 10:30 pm
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CSN Staff

Is Corey Crawford an elite goalie?

That was the topic of discussion on SportsTalk Live on Monday, what with the Blackhawks netminder — who was a big reason the Hawks won their second Stanley Cup in four seasons last year — playing very well of late. Host David Kaplan floated the question of whether Crawford is an elite goalie or just playing on an elite team, similar to Chris Osgood, the Red Wings' goalie during their 1998 and 2008 Stanley Cup championships.

"He's playing at an elite level, but he's only 28 years old. He's only been a starter for three or four years now. At the end of his career, we'll be able to tell you was he Chris Osgood or was he the reason they won the Stanley Cup," Sun-Times Blackhawks reporter Mark Lazerus said. "Right now he is playing at an elite level. There's a lot of big-name goalies in the league right now, but there's not a lot of guys playing at that elite level that we've seen in the past. Henrik Lundqvist has had a rather ordinary year. Jonathan Quick's been hurt a lot of the year. Pekka Rinne's been out all year. Corey Crawford right now is one of the best handful of goalies out there."

[MORE: Corey Crawford named NHL's third star of the week]

Yahoo Sports Radio's Jason Goch argued it's too soon to tell with Crawford, but he pointed out one similarity between the two goalies in question.

"I agree, he is playing elite right now, but the Osgood comparison could become a good one because the one thing Osgood and Crawford do have in common is they have great teams in front of them," Goch said. "You think of Hall-of-Fame players, the Hawks probably have a few on that roster right now, certainly the Red Wings did. And it'll be determined probably in the next five years or so how good Corey Crawford really is."

In his past two games, a pair of big wins for the Hawks over top competition in the Ducks and Bruins, Crawford has stopped 53 of the 57 shots sent his way and has emerged the victor in both games. Sunday against the Bruins, he made 34 saves and led the Hawks to a shootout win.

"You don't lose games because of Corey Crawford," Lazerus said, "and on a team as good as the Blackhawks, what more do you need?"

So is Crawford one of the NHL's elite goalies? See the entire debate in the video above.