One can almost argue that every big Corey Crawford save and strong playoff performance decreases the Chicago Blackhawks’ incentive to give pending restricted free agent goalie Antti Raanta a nice raise.
Even Raanta acknowledges the cloudy situation:
Despite the confusion, Raanta still took the time out to provide one of his charming and slightly-less-than-fluent quotes about a whirlwind first season in the NHL:
On one hand, the Finnish netminder managed a 13-5-4 record with Chicago. On the other, his save percentage was a below-average (if not bad) mark of .897. For some perspective, Ray Emery put up a dominant 2012-13 season with the Blackhawks but was unable to replicate that work with the Philadelphia Flyers this season.
The Blackhawks struggled with their backup situation this season, as Nikolai Khabibulin’s health and inconsistency derailed somewhat shaky plans to use him as the No. 2 while the team acquired journeyman Jason LaBarbera in case Raanta faltered.
With his restricted status in mind, Raanta will probably need to settle for a cheap deal (or maybe flee to Europe), especially considering Crawford’s $6 million cap hit and a tight cap situation for Chicago overall.
It could be interesting to watch this “big mystery” unravel, then.