Corey Crawford is off to an impressive start this season. In six games, he’s allowed eleven goals. He’s second among starting goaltenders with a .947 save percentage. If he keeps this pace up, he’ll definitely be a Vezina Trophy nominee by the end of the season.

Crawford’s goal-tending stole many games for the Blackhawks last year. He’s a huge reason behind how the team finished first in the Western Conference. Despite being an above average goalie, he hasn’t really been in the Vezina talk. This is likely because of his injuries. Crawford missed roughly a month the last two seasons, causing him to be shaky when he returned.

“Part of being consistent is to stay healthy and be there for the team throughout the whole year,” Crawford said. “Any player that’s playing in a game doesn’t want to be out, doesn’t want to sit on the side and it’s hopefully something we can avoid.”

Another reason as to why he’s never really brought up in Vezina talk is because, for six years, Crawford’s great play as been attributed to many as a reflection of the defense and the team in front of him. This year, as well as the last, the Blackhawks defense has been lacking. With only Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook being the last standing defensemen from the 2015 Stanley Cup winning year, Crawford has been working overtime.

This season, it can be argued that the team around him is actually impeding his play. The Blackhawks’ weak defense and penalty kill forces Crawford to be more alert and let in goals that should be easily blocked by a defenseman. So now that the Blackhawks are lacking skilled powerhouse defensemen, it’s Crawford’s time to shine and prove just how good he really is.

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