Jun
30

Replacing Antti Raanta

June 30, 2017, by

(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Since last week when I talked about trading Antti Raanta, he has since, in fact, been traded.  The crew here has covered the return in-depth, so now we need to talk about replacing him.  I’ve spoken at length about Benoit Allaire’s seemingly superhuman ability to help young goaltenders develop into capable NHL starters, but given the current goaltending market, we don’t need Allaire to work miracles.  After perusing the readily available goaltenders who will be looking for jobs on July 1, I thought we could breakdown some of my preferred candidates…

Obviously, the Rangers could swing a trade, a la Antti Raanta, but for our purposes we are just going to look at pending UFA’s that will be available on July 1.

Steve Mason- Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers made the inexplicable decision to retain Michal Neuvirth instead of Mason this spring, and I think he will be looking for a starting gig somewhere.  However, there aren’t many teams who are devoid of a true number one guy.  Best case scenario for Mason would be to get into a pretty even platoon and try to re-establish some value after a tough season last year.  I don’t think he is a likely fit for the Rangers, but man would I love to see what Allaire could do with the former rookie of the year.  The cost however, could be prohibitive if teams are looking to give him more than backup minutes.

Jonathan Bernier- Anaheim Ducks

(Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire)

Once upon a time, Bernier was one of the hottest young goaltending commodities in the game.  After completely cratering in Toronto (after being dealt for a 2nd round pick plus other assets, no less), the former first round pick had something of a renaissance in Anaheim last season backing up John Gibson.  Still only 28 years old, Bernier will likely be looking for a starting job or at least a platoon situation with a higher salary, but along the same lines as Mason, Allaire could have a really high end backup on his hands if the organization could persuade Bernier to come to Broadway.

Darcy Kuemper- Minnesota Wild

www.NHL.com

There are several things about Kuemper that I really like.  He is still young (27), he has had success over a reasonable sample at the NHL level and his style is very well suited for the modern NHL.  He has struggled with inconsistency at times and his numbers are trending in the wrong direction, but he seems like a perfect candidate for Allaire’s development system.  There is certainly risk here, but there is a lot of potential to extract solid value over a 25-30 game sample with minimal financial commitment.

Anders Nilsson- Buffalo Sabres

Nilsson has never gotten much of a fair shake at any of his previous organizations up until this season in Buffalo.  He impressed while putting up very solid numbers for the Sabres in a 26 game sample this year, however.  Nilsson’s underlying metrics are really solid, so it wouldn’t be so much of a reclamation project for Allaire, more of a task of keeping the young Swede trending in the right direction.  For what it’s worth, Nilsson is probably my preferred choice for the role.

Matt O’Connor- Ottawa Senators

Matt O’Connor, you might remember, was very highly touted as an undrafted free agent out of Boston University.  The Rangers actually pursued him pretty aggressively.  Understandably, he felt there was more opportunity in Ottawa.  While still young, his development has stalled out a bit at the AHL level.  I think Allaire could do really well with O’Connor, but he might be a better bet as the AHL starter rather than expecting him to legitimately relieve Henrik Lundqvist.

 

Keith Kinkaid- New Jersey Devils

www.sny.com

A local kid from Farmingville in Long Island, Kinkaid attended Union College right down the road from me, so I was able to see quite a bit of him over the years.  His style is a bit on the traditional side, but he is a good positional goaltender with solid puck-handling skills.  He has been very solid in backing up Cory Schneider over the past few seasons, so he could be a nice addition on the cheap.  Plus, he has some serious pad game.  Just look at those beauts.

Antti Niemi/Ondrej Pavelec- No, just no.

What do you think?  Any preferred candidates for Uncle Bennie’s Goaltending Academy? Take a moment to vote in our poll and sound off in the comments below.

"Replacing Antti Raanta", 1 out of 5 based on 5 ratings.
Categories : Goaltending, Offseason

27 comments

  1. ManUtdTobbe says:

    I love Mason and Bernier but i don’t think either are likely at all.

    Nilsson is definitely my preferred choice here but my #2 choice is someone you didn’t even mention, Jonas Enroth, very solid adjusted numbers. Both are really good and both have some decent upside to them aswell.

    When it comes to Kuemper, Kinkaid, O’Connor and Niemi…. Just no… They’re all bad, their adjusted numbers are trash… O’Connor seems like he’s not even an AHL level goalie and i have no idea why Kuemper and Kinkaid are so well respected, they’re both really really bad.

    Pavelec is actually interesting, when you adjust his career for shot quality he comes in at just around league average, slightly over if you only look at 5v5, i think he’d be a fine choice.

    There’s a couple other good choices too that should be available either in UFA or by trade;
    First one is Andrew Hammond, he’s a weird one though, his numbers outside the NHL are complete trash, but his numbers in the NHL are ELITE… And i don’t exaggerate, they’re actually elite, Hank-like numbers.

    Chad Johnson looks likely to either re-sign with Yotes or go to Sabres, otherwise he’d be a solid option too, doesn’t have much upside but he’s a solid backup. I would prefer we get someone with upside ala Talbot/Raanta but can’t be too picky i guess.

    I’m really glad Condon re-signed btw, he would also have been a terrible choice, he had a decent season but before this season he was complete trash aswell.

  2. SalMerc says:

    Get Niemi on the cheap. Let Allaire do his magic.

  3. amy says:

    the race is on to find a backup for Raanta who do I see coming I could see Pavelec because he is capable

  4. Walt says:

    Mason, working in front of the Flyer defense looked bad. Now having said that, I’d sign him, but it would be too high .

    Given we are trying to get a decent return, and expect results when Hank gets a night off, I guess the best man for the job would be Nilsson. The man is 6’6″, that’s a huge frame, and takes a lot of space in net, leaving very little room to score against him. Ben could make this guy someone special, and he probably would work well with Hank, a fellow Swede. I suspect the cost would be reasonable, so that is the route I’d take if I had a choice…………….

  5. Walt says:

    The Oilers waived wing Benoit Pouliot with the intention of buying out his contract.

    Now I’m not saying to try to get Ben back, at no charge, but if push turns to shove, why not? He worked well with Zucc, but maybe that was a one shot, and done year!!!!!! Just a thought……….

    • Rich S says:

      Walt,
      Another player who played great for us…..that line with zucc and brassard was terrific….and he played with an EDGE ! Yes bring him back and stallberg as well and put miller at center, since we would have too many wings…..
      I like the big swede also, here we go again, allaire will make the backup play better than hank, and then we trade him next off season…..

    • Ray says:

      He was never even all that good in his own end. I don’t see why you think he can play goal. Allaire can only do so much.

    • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

      Pouliot would make a great 4th liner for us at the right price…

  6. Reenavipul says:

    Pretty sure Kinkaid re-signed with the Devils

    With the Calgary/Carolina trade, it’s fairly obvious the Rangers could’ve done business with Carolina and had a win/win deal, but somebody(on either side) didn’t want to parlay inside the division.

  7. Peter says:

    Two word response to this article: Magnus Hellberg

  8. Mikeyyy says:

    Leighton. Has raw skills. Sure benny can make him better

  9. Larry says:

    It doesn’t really matter who replaces Raanta, NYR has the best goalie coach in the NHL.
    .

  10. wwpd says:

    Justin, since this comes up so much, can you please give some background on Allaire? I know we all think highly of him. Just curious about your take on his resume.
    My recollection is Hank stole the show on Broadway long before anyone expected it – he has an all world talent and wasn’t under Allaire ‘s tutelage for very long prior to establishing himself as #1 over Kevin weekes. Raanta had a very strong reputation coming in (had never lost a home game or something like that?). Cam talbot yes he was around for a long time but was most of his development under a different coach during 4 season in the ahl and by the time he arrived in the NHL? I recall him giving us solid starts early on / almost immediately when called to do so.
    Would love to get your perspective on this.

  11. Al Hirschen says:

    Jean-François Bérubé

  12. Robert Carroon says:

    Any chance we could raid the KHL and get Igor Shesfyorkin over here to replace Magnus Helberg in Hartford? The Cam Talbot trade is still smarting. Skaps is gone and not likely, in view of his health issues, likely to surface anywhere. What about Jeff Malcolm?

    • Reenavipul says:

      Shestyorkin is under contract until 2020 and SKA is one of the few KHL teams that can afford to keep him.

  13. Rich S says:

    Time to rattle some chains…………
    1. Dont care too much regarding goalies….OVERATED position if you ask me….what goalie could not have won 4 cups when playing behind the 1976-80 canaadians, 1980-84 islanders, late 80’s oilers???? and recent penguins and blackhawks…
    2. Sabres general manager Jason Botterill comments on E.Kane—–
    “We know how talented of a player he certainly is. From a scoring aspect I think it was 25 even-strength goals last year. How we want to play, he can certainly be a force.
    My take-he is worth pursuing and see how IMPORTANT even strength goals are to hockey GM’s…..which is why I was never a fan of stepan…. terrible numbers at even strength…..

    • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

      Conversely, do you think BOS wins in 2011 (or the Oilers gettting so close in 2004) would have happened without the respective goaltenders playing as they did? I don’t.

      Hell, LA in 2012 with Quick? Sorry Rich, you’re wrong here.

      If anything, I’d say it’s the most important position – every single example you cited (80’s isles/oilers, PIT) had MULTIPLE shoo-in HoFers augmenting their respective squads (and I’m not counting the goalies). To have 1 player capable of beating that type of set-up (which we have seen happen more than once, thanks to our own shoo-in HoFer) belies the argument that goalies are not important.

      Moving on to your second point – to be fair, with Stepan, you’re cherry-picking here. The ‘terrible’ numbers Stepan put up were the strongest by far among the team. Actually, at ES, while Stepan was on the ice, the Rangers outscored the opposition 3-2. Over the entire season! That is not insignificant, at all.

      Unless this Andersson kid comes out of the gate lighting up the scoresheet, we are going to miss Stepan this year – no one is replicating what he did, even if he was ‘soft & slow’. 55 points (with solid metrics to back them up) are not the easiest things to replace….

      And while I wanted him to be traded, it’s not because he’s ‘bad at hockey’.

      Also, with Kane…. hard pass. Talented, yes, but there’s a reason why he’s languishing in BUF playing for another contract… I’d be very reluctant to take a player who has only trended downward from their rookie season on. And, like I said, his contract is almost up & suddenly, he’s playing closer to the level we first saw six years ago in Atlanta? Yeaaaah… no thanks

      • Rich S says:

        Some good points Dog, but I still maintain if we switched goalies with LA we would have still lost. Kopitar and the rest of the LA forwards were too big and strong for us, we lost all the puck battles against the boards etc…
        And when they needed a goal they jammed the net and got deflections from right in front which no goalie can stop…
        I get the feeling Matt Peumpel is still in their plans. If he can stay healthy.

        • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

          To be fair, I don’t think Quick was the better goalie in 2014 (even though Hank wasn’t at his greatest, either).

          No, to me, that series is (should be, anyways) a case study on the effects of TurtleTime™ & a team’s chance of winning. They held the lead for almost the entirety of the series, especially when you exclude the game 3 stinker at MSG….

          Actually, that series, now that I think about it, kind of reminds me of this past one versus OTT…. Something about an uncanny quantity of blown 3rd period leads & subsequent OTLs…

    • Spozo says:

      Well as soon as this team puts a roster on the ice that resembles the Oilers of the late 80’s then we can dress a backup in net

  14. Pas44 says:

    Kincaid – he is good.

    Does the fact that he plays in the same area mean he would be more familiar with the other teams etc?

  15. ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

    Conversely, do you think BOS wins in 2011 (or the Oilers gettting so close in 2004) would have happened without the respective goaltenders playing as they did? I don’t.

    Hell, LA in 2012 with Quick? Sorry Rich, you’re wrong here.

    If anything, I’d say it’s the most important position – every single example you cited (80’s isles/oilers, PIT) had MULTIPLE shoo-in HoFers augmenting their respective squads (and I’m not counting the goalies). To have 1 player capable of beating that type of set-up (which we have seen happen more than once, thanks to our own shoo-in HoFer) belies the argument that goalies are not important.

    Moving on to your second point – to be fair, with Stepan, you’re cherry-picking here. The ‘terrible’ numbers Stepan put up were the strongest by far among the team. Actually, at ES, while Stepan was on the ice, the Rangers outscored the opposition 3-2. Over the entire season! That is not insignificant, at all.

    Unless this Andersson kid comes out of the gate lighting up the scoresheet, we are going to miss Stepan this year – no one is replicating what he did, even if he was ‘soft & slow’. 55 points (with solid metrics to back them up) are not the easiest things to replace….

    And while I wanted him to be traded, it’s not because he’s ‘bad at hockey’.

    Also, with Kane…. hard pass. Talented, yes, but there’s a reason why he’s languishing in BUF playing for another contract… I’d be very reluctant to take a player who has only trended downward from their rookie season on. And, like I said, his contract is almost up & suddenly, he’s playing closer to the level we first saw six years ago in Atlanta? Yeaaaah… no thanks.