In June, goalie Antti Raanta seemed like he might ride a hot season in Finland to a backup job with the eventual Stanley Cup champions. Things haven’t gone particularly well for the Chicago Blackhawks netminder during the past few days, however.
To start things off, the team put a “Bulin Wall” in his path to becoming the No. 2 by signing Nikolai Khabibulin to a one-year, $2 million contract on Friday. Making matters worse, a “minor injury” prompted the team to hold him out of Monday’s drills during the team’s prospect camp.
Fox Chicago’s Al Cimaglia reports that GM Stan Bowman indicated the plan was for the 24-year-old goalie to play for the Rockford Icehogs in the AHL, but one cannot help but wonder if Raanta would have preferred a different destination if he knew this would be how things would work out.
Considering the fact that Khabibulin is 40, an injury could very well open the door for Raanta to get his feet wet at the NHL level next season, anyway.
Still, this hasn’t been a great few days for the Finnish goalie.