New York Rangers backup net minder Antti Raanta is 5 – 0 – 0 in six starts this season after besting the Penguins 5 – 2 Monday night and since joining the Blueshirts in 2015, the Finnish goalie 16 – 6 – 2 with a GAA of 2.20 and a Save % of 92.4%. While he isn’t a threat to the job of longtime Rangers starter Henrik Lundqvist, his superb play at the bargain basement price of $1M this year and next does give the Blueshirts one of the best backup bargains in the league, writes Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post.
Raanta was acquired from Chicago in the summer of 2015 in exchange for minor league forward Ryan Haggerty to replace Cam Talbot as Lundqvist’s understudy. He spent two seasons with the Blackhawks and saw action in 39 games. Raanta was originally inked by Chicago as an undrafted free agent in 2013.
Even though “King” Henrik is the unquestioned starter in New York, the plan is for the Rangers to limit his usage somewhat in order to keep him fresh for the playoffs. As such, Raanta is expected to see action in around 25 games this season. His stellar play means there is little to no drop off from Lundqvist when Raanta is in goal.
Even though Raanta is under contract for one more season, it’s quite possible he won’t be with the Rangers beyond the 2016-17 campaign. With the Rangers required to protect Lundqvist in the expansion draft, the new Vegas Golden Knights franchise will have the option of selecting the 27-year-old Raanta. At the very least he would be an excellent #2 goalie at an inexpensive price for the Golden Knights in their inaugural season.
More from the Metro Division:
- The Columbus Blue Jackets announced via their official Twitter account that Matt Calvert would miss tonight’s game against Calgary with an upper-body-injury. To take his place the team recalled forward Markus Hannikainen from Cleveland of the AHL. Calvert, who was hit by a shot in a recent game against the Rangers which ultimately required 36 stitches to his forehead, has two goals in 17 games this season. Hannikainen, 23, made his NHL debut tonight and was held scoreless in 9:47 of ice itme. He has five goals and eight points in 14 games for the Monsters.
- With just more than $700K in salary cap space, the Washington Capitals have had to be creative managing their roster as injuries have begun to pile up, as Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post writes. After forward Paul Carey was reassigned to the AHL following Sunday’s game, the Caps were left with just 11 healthy forwards. Subsequently, reserve defenseman Nate Schmidt skated as a forward at practice. It’s an option head coach Barry Trotz may need to employ in an actual game should the situation warrant it. The piece gives an interesting insight into the complexities of roster management in the salary cap era. Every day the Capitals can avoid having to call up a minor league player such as Carey adds to the amount of salary cap space the team banks for use later in the campaign. While they may need to recall a player to play in a game, there is no sense carrying him on the roster during breaks in the schedule.