New Devils by the Numbers

The Devils today announced the numbers their new acquisitions will be wearing for the upcoming 2020-21 season.

Ryan Murray will be the 34th player in team history to wear the number 22. Patrik Elias actually wore that number when he debuted in 1997 before switching to his more familiar number 26, which has since been retired by the club. Jordin Tootoo wore the number notably in 2016 while Kyle Quincey was the last to do so in 2017.

Andreas Johnsson will become the 21st Devil to wear the number 11, the first since Brian Boyle did so in 2018-19.

Free agent signing, goaltender Corey Crawford will be the second Devils player in history to don the number 50 on his back. The other was Evan Cormier, also a goalie, who did so last season briefly.

Speaking of Crawford, there was a fantastic article on the Devils app today written by Amanda Stein that notated Crawford idolizing none other than Martin Brodeur while growing up.

Crawford, Stein said, grew up in Chateauguay, Quebec, which is “just a short drive from Saint-Leonard where Martin Brodeur was raised.”

Crawford went on to say on the Speak of the Devils Podcast that the team puts out that he “had posters of” Marty on his wall growing up. He said that he “started idolizing Marty, you know, he’s unbelievable, just how good he was with the different style of play. And, you know, he was fun to watch. And I had, I still have, that ‘Heaven’, VHS, I think back home, from when they won [in 1995].”

He is, of course, referring to the 1995 Stanley Cup video put out by the NHL for the Devils. On a personal note, I wore that sucker out from the sheer amount of viewings and even had a friend who would religiously watch it each and every day for about a year to keep the memory fresh in his mind.

But back to Crawford. When the Devils were courting him as a free agent, they had a secret weapon: Martin Brodeur.

Marty spoke on the phone with Crawford, recounted Stein, trying to convince him to sign.

Corey told Matt Loughlin and Stein on the Speak of the Devils Podcast: “That was a big surprise. Obviously, I’m from Montreal, Marty was a pretty big idol of mine growing up, you know, I watched him and [New Jersey] when they were winning Cups. So, to talk to him on the phone was pretty cool. It’s pretty special. And, you know, it definitely, definitely persuaded me to think about Jersey and what they can offer.”

And what Crawford can offer the Devils is being a part of a top goaltending tandem with Mackenzie Blackwood. He will also make a great mentor for the young Blackwood. Crawford was brought here to not only take some pressure off of Blackwood and be a good 1A/1B pair, but to also be a locker room leader. He has been there; he has won Cups with Chicago. He is a proven winner and can bring a lot to the Devils via his leadership.

Corey Crawford is here to help the Devils get back to those Broderian days, to get the Devils back to the top.

Goodbye Cory; Hello Corey

The Devils today announced that they have bought out the remaining two years of Cory Schneider’s contract as he was placed on waivers yesterday and went unclaimed.

The team posted some great tributes to their social media platforms, honoring the former Devils netminder. This includes a tweet where the team stated: “You’ll always be Jersey no matter the jersey. #WeAreOne #ThankYouCory.”

But with the buyout of Cory Schneider came a vacancy in the Devils crease for a veteran goalie. Enter Corey Crawford.

Crawford agreed to terms on a two-year contract on today, the first day of free agency in the NHL. The team officially announced the signing at 11 PM ET tonight.

The former Chicago Blackhawks goaltender, who won two Stanley Cups while in the Windy City (2013 and 2015), is 35-years-old and had spent “his entire 13-year career with Chicago” according to the Devils’ press release.

The contract breaks down as follows as announced by Executive Vice President/General Manager Tom Fitzgerald: $3,600,000 for 2020-21 and $4,200,000 for 2021-22. It has an annual average value of $3,900,000.

Fitzgerald said: “We are excited to bring Corey into our organization, as he is a proven winner and two-time Stanley Cup Champion. We will look to him to assume a leadership role and be a strong presence for our young core. Crawford’s compete level and ability to battle will rub off on the entire group. This opportunity also provides him with a new challenge in his career.”

Crawford, a native of Montreal who stands 6-feet, 2-inches and weighs 215-pounds, went 260-162-53 during his time as a Blackhawk. He finished there with a .918 save percentage and a 2.45 goals against average. He comes to New Jersey with 26 shutouts over 488 games played in the NHL.

The Devils press release notes that his GAA ranks seventh amongst active goalies and 25th in NHL history. His save percentage is eighth amongst active NHL goalies and 14th all-time in NHL history. He is third on Chicago’s all-time wins list as well. The release also said that he “won the William M. Jennings Trophy (awarded to goaltender on club with fewest goals in the NHL) in 2013 & 2015.” He was an All-Star Game participant in 2015 and 2017 and was the All-Rookie Team goaltender in 2011.

Last year, he played 40 games for the Hawks and was 16-20-3 with a .917 save percentage and a 2.77 GAA.

In the playoffs last year, he played nine games and 4-5 with a .907 save percentage and a 3.31 GAA. Over his career in the postseason, he is 52-42 over 96 career games with five shutouts. He compiled a .918 save percentage and a 2.38 GAA. The press release notes that he holds Chicago’s franchise record for playoff wins and the single-season playoff record for minutes played with 1,504 in 2013. The presser notes that he has played in the playoffs in some form in 17 of 20 seasons through his junior and professional career.

Before being drafted 52nd overall by Chicago in the second round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, he played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for the Moncton Wildcats. There, he went 96-68-18, finishing his junior career with a .913 save percentage and a 2.80 goals against average over 193 games. The Devils’ press release notes that he was a two-time member of the QMJHL’s Second All-Star Team in 2004 and in 2005. He was also the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year in the “Q.” Internationally, he played for Canada at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, winning gold.