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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Antti Raanta
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Raanta worked against the grain of the Coyotes' second-to-last-place standing by turning in a remarkable 2017-18 campaign. Clearly, the ex-Blackhawk and former Ranger benefited from two-year apprenticeships with Corey Crawford and Henrik Lundqvist, as he was able to post a winning record (21-17-6) plus the highest save percentage (.930) of any netminder who appeared in at least 33 games. The fact that Raanta managed such a lofty save rate on top of a winning record despite his team's egregious minus-48 goal differential speaks volumes about the Finn's pure skill and upside for the future. Known for his calculated positioning between the pipes, he figures to be a mainstay for the burgeoning franchise, but staying healthy has been rather challenging for him.
Shipped to Arizona along with top-line center Derek Stepan in June, Raanta will get his first chance to serve as a No. 1 netminder after acting as the understudy to Corey Crawford in Chicago and then Henrik Lundqvist in New York for his first four NHL seasons. Over the past three, Raanta hasn't posted a save mark lower than .919, and Cam Talbot’s success upon moving to Edmonton after backing up Lundqvist gives us a framework to analyze what the Finn might do now that he’s escaped the shadows of two star goalies. He'll have the benefit of a blue line that's added defensive specialist Niklas Hjalmarsson, with whom Raanta is familiar from their time together with the Blackhawks, as well as Stepan’s own-zone proficiency -- a much-needed attribute in the desert, as the Coyotes have been known as a soft target for opposing offenses in recent seasons. He should easily fend off any challenge for playing time that may be posed by mediocre backup Louis Domingue.
As he enters his age-27 season, Raanta has never been an NHL starter, and he appears set to continue that way. After a solid first season as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup, Raanta will be back for another two years in the same role after re-signing in early May. Unless the King suffers an injury, the Finn will hold fairly minimal fantasy value outside of deep formats in which his strong ratios can help despite his limited playing time.
Raanta turned in sparkling work as the Blackhawks' second-string goalie last year, supplying a spectacular .936 save percentage and 1.89 GAA in 14 games (12 starts), but nonetheless found himself displaced from that role by Scott Darling by season's end. That resulted in a trade to the Rangers, where the Finn will slot in as the backup behind star netminder Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist spent some rare time on IR last year, but he's usually an iron man out there, so don't expect Raanta to see more than about 20 starts this season. When he does play, though, he may be one of the most appealing backups around, just as Cam Talbot was last season.
Raanta stepped into the crease last season when both Nikolai Khabibulin went down with a season-ending injury and Corey Crawford was out for a period of time and did an admirable job filling the net. Sure, he needs to improve that .897 save percentage, but he did go 13-5-4. He is a reliable backup and should continue to grow his game. We think he'll see about the same number of games, 25, as last season,and he should provide those of you in daily leagues with a decent streaming option.