General Manager Stan Bowman came out after that game 7 loss to Vancouver saying that goaltender Corey Crawford wasn't just a priority he was tops on the list. He wasn't kidding because just a few weeks after the season ended the Chicago Blackhawks have locked up their young goaltender for 3 more seasons worth $8 million.

Corey is going to get a nice pay increase after making $850,000 this past season. In year won he will make $3.25 million followed by $2.25 million in year 2 and finally 2.5 million in the final year of the deal. He will carry a cap number of about $2.6 million per season. All these are very good numbers for both sides and shows what happens when both sides are on the same page.

Just to throw it out there since I know many people still blame the Hawks failures on the departure of Antti Niemi. Let's just end it now. The 4 year extension that Niemi recently signed with the Sharks is for $15.2 million dollars which a cap hit of $3.8 million per season. The Hawks were never and as long as this management team is in place will never pay a goalie that much.

Crawford, 26 will turn 27 on New Year's Eve at this year's end, won 33 games last year with a 2.30 goals allowed per game. He also saved 91.7% of the shots he faced and will now get to enter into next season as the unquestioned starter. Crawford battled with Niemi 2 seasons ago for the backup job and this past season had to overcome veteran Marty Turco for the starting job. But don't expect Corey to just put his feet up and relax because he was one of the hardest working players on the Hawks this past season.

Congrats to Corey and thank you Stan Bowman for taking care of something that could have become a huge headache a month from now. So feel safe in going out and buying your #50 Crawford sweaters because he will be minding the net at the Madhouse for at least the next few seasons.