With Antti Raanta and Scott Darling attempting to make the conversion from backup to starter this season, many believe that both will be successful. However, history suggests that’s not always the case. NBC Sports Adam Gretz writes that the best comparable for both is Cam Talbot, who was hugely successful as a backup for the New York Rangers and continued that success as a starter after being traded to the Edmonton Oilers.
Gretz writes that while Talbot is the perfect comparison, there are also plenty of goaltenders who have failed to make the full-time conversion over the last 15 years, including a few names that many have long forgotten. Eddie Lack and Anton Khudobin each struggled as starters for Carolina which forced them to go out and get Darling in the first place, while other goaltenders such as Dan Ellis, Alex Stalock, Ben Scrivens and Vesa Toskala didn’t fare particularly well.
The hope is that both Raanta and Darling are more proven as backups than a lot of the others and are more NHL ready to handle a larger workload. Raanta and Darling’s success will be critical for the team to take their team to the next step.
- Nashville Predators prospect Eeli Tolvanen, the team’s first-round pick in the 2017 draft, signed a three-year deal to play for Jokerit Helsinki of the KHL earlier in the offseason. International hockey writer Igor Eronko tweeted Tolvanen told him that his second year is a player’s option and if he has a good year, he will come stateside next year. It’s only been three games for Tolvanen, but he is currently third in the league in scoring with six points and is third in the league in shots taken.
- Gretz, in another story writes this is a critical year for Arizona’s Anthony Duclair. The 22-year-old wing got the city excited when he posted a 20-goal season two years ago, but came crashing back to earth last year after a five-goal output. Gretz points out that he scored on 19 percent of his shots in the 2015-16 season, which is extremely high and not sustainable over the long-term. Last year, Duclair’s numbers dropped to six percent. The still restricted free agent has not come to terms with the team.