2006-07: This was Nick Crawford’s rookie season with the Saginaw Spirit, which saw the blue-liner net a goal and eight points through 63 games.
2007-08: The Saginaw Spirit (OHL) defenseman netted four goals and 20 points in 68 games, while racking up 58 penalty minutes in the process.
2008-09: The defenseman’s third OHL season was his most productive so far. In 65 games with Saginaw, he scored seven goals and 42 points. He added another five points (1g+4a) in eight postseason games.
2009-10: Crawford split his final OHL season between Saginaw and Barrie and led all OHL defensemen in scoring. In 68 games between the two clubs, he scored 11 goals with 59 assists and was +51 (+46 with Barrie). Crawford scored 7 of his 11 goals on the power play. After finishing with the league's best record, Barrie breezed through the OHL playoffs before being swept by eventual Memorial Cup champ Windsor in the league finals. Crawford had 12 assists and was +3 with 4 PMs in 17 playoff contests for the Colts.
2010-11: Crawford was one of three rookie defensemen for the Sabres' AHL affiliate Portland and showed steady improvement; seeing increased ice-time later in the season when the Pirates' defense corps was beset by injuries. Crawford scored 7 goals with 24 assists and was -1 with 27 PMs in 76 games for Portland. In 12 playoff contests, he had 2 assists and was -1 with 4 PMs.
2011-12: Crawford played for Buffalo AHL affiliate Rochester in his second pro season. He scored 6 goals with 16 assists and was minus-two with 26 penalty minutes in 70 games for the Amerks. The Amerks finished second in the North Division and were swept by Toronto in a best-of-five first round playoff series. Crawford had 1 assist and was minus-two in three playoff games.
2012-13: Crawford played for Buffalo's AHL affiliate in Rochester in his third pro season. Caught in a numbers game early in the year due to the NHL lockout, he skated in 53 regular season games, scoring 5 goals with 14 assists, and was -1 with 18 penalty minutes. The Amerks finished second in the North Division and were swept by first place Toronto in the first round of the playoffs. Crawford played in one playoff game and was +1 with no points nor penalty minutes. He was re-signed by Buffalo as a restricted free agent to a one-year contract in July, 2013.
Crawford is a quality skater with room to add bulk to his frame. He generally stays at home, but can contribute on offense at times. Crawford needs to work on developing his overall game but he is a steadying presence on the blue-line as he is patient and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.
Where Crawford plays will depend on how many defencemen the Sabres choose to carry and his performance at training camp. He is still raw and at least one or two years away from the NHL. In Rochester, Crawford could be a second or third pairing defenseman.