Chicago Blackhawks goalie coach Jaakko Rosendahl told ESPN Chicago that Antti Raanta’s lighthearted approach makes him “different from any other goalies.”
While that might mean Raanta could provide a good one-liner every now and then, Rosendahl also said that his disposition can bring some advantages on the ice.
“Before games — two hours before a game — he was like some guy who came off the street and into the locker room. ‘Hey, let’s go.’ He’s not heavy,” Rosendahl said. “He’s not going to feel like not talking to anyone. He’s relaxed. That’s why he keeps so much in the game.”
(Of course, this could open the door from some dreadful “is Raanta really focused on the game?” type speculation in the future …)
It’s probably an exaggeration to say that Raanta, 24, is the lone exception among funny/free-spirited netminders. Roberto Luongo’s (alleged?) Twitter account and even some high comedy from lesser known players such as Ben Scrivens points to these guys being almost as funny as they are strange.
Regardless, Raanta might end up being Chicago’s goalie of the future – especially if Corey Crawford becomes a salary cap casualty – so having a solid sense of humor could help him cope with championship expectations.
It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.