He’s Back! News broke earlier today that Antti Raanta would be back on Broadway for the upcoming season. According to Steve Zipay, the deal keeps Raanta in New York for the next two seasons at a modest cap hit of $1.0 million per.
Raanta has proven he can be a tremendous back-up to the King. This season in 25 spot-starts Raanta posted an impressive 11-6-2 record with a 2.24 GAA and a .919 save percentage. Raanta started his New York Rangers career with a 22 shot shutout against the San Jose Sharks in October. He then went on to set a franchise record, being the first goaltender in Rangers history to win his first 4 starts. The best way to get on the good side of the Rangers faithful is to perform. Raanta has done just that; gotten the job done when called upon.
There is no doubt that Benoit Allaire deserves a ton of credit in adjusting Raanta’s game, to allow him to perform at a high level any given night. Having Allaire in the organization is a privilege that often goes unnoticed, but has allowed us to compete with any goalie who gets the call on game night. There is also no doubt that Raanta is a huge locker room influence always smiling and sending out good vibes. Many players have commented on Raanta’s demeanor as being uplifting and a breath of fresh air. The team in general also becomes inspired and seems to play better defensive hockey around Raanta. Most of this, I suspect, is that when Hank is between the pipes there is a sense of comfort that the “big save” will be made if there is a lapse in the defense. This is something that has to change to guarantee success in the future.
There’s no easy way to put this but Henrik Lundqvist isn’t getting any younger. At 34 years old, I’m not willing to say that we’ve seen the best Henrik has to offer, but I am saying that in the next few years his potential will have peaked, if it hasn’t already. With that being said, Lundqvist still gives us a chance to win every game we play. Raanta will have to continue to step up and give us chances to win games that Lundqvist is unavailable for. As was the case this past year, AV should continue to give Hank proper rest during the season and leading up to the playoffs (It’s been really nice the last several years knowing the playoffs are in our future).
The signing doesn’t come as a surprise to me, but I was in all honesty, a little taken aback by the terms. In my opinion, this was a steal. To lock up arguably one of the best back-up goalies in the game for 2 years at such a low premium is invaluable.
Tweet from Raanta earlier:
What do you think of the deal? Like it? Don’t? Let us know in the comments section below!