Staff Report Cards: Antti Raanta

Kirk Irwin

A look back at the season of Finnish goalie named Antti 2.0.

GP TOI Sv% GA/60 SA/60 FA/60 CA/60 GF/60 GA SA FA CA SADist G A P PenDr PenT PenD
Regular Season 25 1396.3 89.70% 2.7 26.2 36.3 49.5 3.5 63 610 844 1151 34.1 ft. 0 1 1 3 0 3

Antti Raanta was a pretty big get following the 2013 season. The highly touted international goalie dominated the Finnish elite league where he was named regular season and playoff MVP. The Blackhawks front office zeroed in on Antti last summer and they got their man. The netminder was expected to flesh out his game in Rockford this season, but the tragic death of Khabibulin thrust him onto the big club. He ended the year 13-5-4, 2.71 GAA with a .897 SV%.

Regular Season

There was a lot to like about Raanta during the first half of the regular season. He played bigger than he is, flashed some superb athleticism, and did an admirable job when Crawford went down in late December with a shit hip. It appeared that he could hold his own as a capable NHL backup, culminating with a 1-0 shutout of the LA Kings on December 30th.

But the capable label cracked once the calendar flipped to 2014. His 5v5 save percentage dipped from 90.6 in his first 15 to 87.4 over his final 9 appearances. He allowed 3+ goals in 7 of his last 10 appearances and cost the team points down the stretch. With the Olympic break, Raanta went a mind boggling 42 days in between starts. Raanta relies on his athleticism, hoping it masks his lack of awareness and positioning and that didn't happen at the end of the year. Being on the smaller side, he is going to have to learn how to see the angles and keep his crease with hulking forwards causing havoc in front of him. What he looked like this season was a raw, unrefined talent that wasn't getting the playing time to improve.

Playoffs

Raanta rode the pine pony for the duration of the postseason. Injury aside, there isn't a situation where you would want him over Corey Crawford.

Future Considerations

Raanta recently re-signed for 2 more years at 750k. With the cap crunch, it appears Raanta will be locked into the backup role. Depending on who hits the road in the coming week, it is flexible enough to send to Rockford, though the purse strings are tight this year (and the FA crop is abysmal).

His reasonable price tag could be a boon in the future if he can develop at a steady rate while only seeing 20-25 games. Rockford is better option to him at this point as he has a lot to learn about the North American game. Despite this, the Hawks seem happy to press on with Raanta. For what it’s worth, his quotes always point to a guy that knows he has a lot to learn and prove. Hopefully new goaltending coach Jimmy Waite aid him in his journey.

Raanta gets a C-.

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