Corey Crawford began his major junior career in 2001-02 with the Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL), sharing the load with Matthew Davis. Crawford, and the young team, struggled all season, and Crawford finished with discouraging numbers, including a 3.74 GAA and a save percentage below .900 (.889). He improved steadily over the course of the next season, appearing in 50 games, second most in the entire league behind only Marc-Andre Fleury (51 games). He dropped his GAA by an entire goal per game (2.73) and saw a rise in his save percentage. His play made him the second goaltender drafted in the 2003 Entry Draft. With this boost in confidence behind him Crawford went on to have a second straight good season in Moncton, once again reducing his GAA (2.62) and compiling a 35-15-3 record. Crawford backstopped the Wildcats to the QMJHL Finals where they were defeated by the Gatineau Olympiques.
2007-08: Though Crawford won fewer games in Rockford than he did the prior season in Norfolk, his GAA and save percentage numbers were nearly identical. Part of the reason for the lower win total was the fact that he was splitting time with veteran goaltender Wade Flaherty. This was not the case in Norfolk, as he carried the bulk of the load there. Because of his consistency in the AHL, Crawford was called up to Chicago during the 2007-08 season, where he played in five games for the Blackhawks.
Crawford is a goaltender with excellent skating who is finally settling upon a style of play. Some were concerned after his first two seasons in the QMJHL where he seemed to experiment frequently with his style of play, but he has settled on a mostly traditional butterfly style, although Crawford tends to play extremely deep in his net at times. Earlier in his career there were concerns about his positional play because of the evolving nature of his play, but now his positioning and ability to stop the first shot is his strongest asset. Crawford very rarely gets beaten on the first shot on goal.
Crawford is a workhorse who has shown that he can handle a tremendous amount of playing time even at a very young age, playing 50 games as a 17-year old. As he has matured in the QMJHL his mental game has developed. Crawford does not let a goal get to him and usually comes back stronger than before after letting on in. He is able to focus very early into games and does not need a few shots before he gets into it. Playing with the strong Wildcats the past couple of years, Crawford has typically faced a low number of quality chances, but when they come he has been prepared for them.
He is not a goalie who comes out of his crease often to play the puck. While he will stop a puck when sent around the boards, he relies on his defensmen to move it from behind the net. He sometimes struggles with his rebound control and must work on his consistency in this area. Crawford has also had difficulties in breakaway situations.
Crawford has proven to be a quality No. 1 goaltender at the AHL level and a capable back-up at the NHL level.