Antti Raanta has been having a stellar season. Forced into more playing time than expected, he has shined brightly and helped stabilize what could have been a disaster in net for the Blueshirts. It’s reminiscent of when Cam Talbot was forced into more playing time when Ryan McDonagh tried to decapitate Henrik Lundqvist.
Talbot was traded that offseason to the Edmonton Oilers for three draft picks that the Rangers desperately needed. Almost immediately after the trade, the Rangers landed Raanta in a deal with Chicago for Ryan Haggerty. Haggerty is already 24 and has not seen a single NHL game. Suffice it to say, Benoit Allaire picked his man wisely.
This brings up an interesting discussion, and a valid point brought up by Josh on Twitter:
The Dallas Stars, as Josh points out, are in desperate need of a goalie. Neither Antti Niemi nor Kari Lehtonen are getting the job done, and it has reached a tipping point in Dallas. It’s clear goaltending is holding the team back.
The reason a potential deal with Dallas works is because they won’t want or need to protect either of their current goaltenders in the expansion draft. In acquiring Raanta, they solidify their goaltending position without taking any expansion draft risk. For the Rangers, they could get a solid return for an asset they might lose for nothing.
The wild card here is going to be Allaire and who he has his sights on for his next project. And make no mistake, it’s Allaire who has been the steady force for the Rangers. He finds the guys he knows have the tools and can be taught. Perhaps a name like Jonathan Bernier piques his interest? He certainly won’t cost the $4 million he’s getting now.
The NHL is all about asset management. The Rangers have an expiring asset on their hands who is at his peak value. It will be either this year or next when they will be parting ways with him. It makes sense to maximize his value and get return while they still can.