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Blackhawks sign Corey Crawford to six-year, $36-million extension

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford

JIM YOUNG/REUTERS

The Chicago Blackhawks have signed goaltender Corey Crawford to a six-year contract extension through the 2019-20 season.

No financial terms were announced by the team but a published report in the Chicago Tribune put the total figure of the new deal at $36-million US.

Crawford was entering the final year of a 3-year, $8-million contract which will see him earn $2.5-million this upcoming season. He could have become an unrestricted free agent next July.

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The 28-year-old Montreal-area native posted a 16-7 record with an NHL best 1.84 goals against average in 23 playoff games, helping the Blackhawks to the 2013 Stanley Cup championship.

"I'm on a bit of a high right now and hopefully I don't come down from it," Crawford said on a conference call Monday. "It's just been amazing. The last couple of months have been great."

"I want to be in Chicago for my whole career, and this is amazing to be able to do this and get this deal done."

News of the deal came on the same day Crawford was enjoying his own personal day with the Stanley Cup in his hometown of Chateauguay near Montreal.

In 30 regular season games, Crawford went 19-5-5 with the third best goals against average among NHL goaltenders of 1.94. That was good enough to earn the William Jennings Trophy, along with teammate Ray Emery, for the fewest goals against during the regular season.

A second round pick by the Blackhawks in 2003, Crawford has amassed an 83-43-19 career record with eight shutouts in 152 games with Chicago.

"He's grown up with our organization and he's earned the ultimate (prize) with our group," said Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman. "So there was never a question in our minds that we want to commit to him because it's the most important position we have and we have a lot of faith in his ability to continue.

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"He's a young goalie. He's certainly worked hard to get himself to the NHL and now he's proven he can do it at the highest level."

Crawford was one of five goaltenders invited to last month's Canadian Olympic team orientation camp in Calgary. He will battle for one of three spots on the team with Roberto Luongo, Braden Holtby, Carey Price and Mike Smith.

Veteran goalie Nikolai Khabibulin will backup Crawford this coming season after returning to the Blackhawks on a one-year deal. Khabibulin played for Chicago for four seasons from 2005-09. He replaces backup Ray Emery, who signed a $1.65 million, one-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers in the off-season.

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