Rookie goalie Corey Crawford has emerged as a viable Calder Trophy candidate for his role in helping the Blackhawks recover and become a playoff-contending team again.
And his numbers will only look better to the writers who vote on the rookie-of-the-year award with another victory.
Crawford could notch his 30th victory of the season Saturday if the Hawks knock off the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center. Crawford would be the first Hawks goalie to do so since Jocelyn Thibault won 33 in 2001-02.
"He's awesome," winger Patrick Kane said. "From the moment, he's come in he's been one of the hardest working guys at practice. He's really fun to shoot on too because he cares so much. You can have fun with a guy a like that and it makes yourself better too."
Crawford has had the best season among rookie goalies, leading the way in wins (29). He also has four shutouts, a solid save percentage (.918) and a strong goals-against average (2.28).
But he has plenty of competition. Carolina's Jeff Skinner leads all rookies in points with 53 heading into Friday's games, while San Jose's Logan Couture (28 goals, 50 points) and the New York Islanders' Michael Grabner (31 goals) also have had big seasons.
"In my mind, [Crawford is] probably the best rookie in the NHL right now," Kane said. "Hopefully, he can get that award and bring it back to Chicago. But 30 wins is pretty impressive by any goalie."