Antti Raanta: 2021-22 By the Numbers
- Age: 33
- NHL seasons: 9
- Stats: 15-5-4, 2.45 GAA, .912 save percentage
- Playoff Stats: 6-5-0, 2.26 GAA, .922 save percentage
- Contract status: Signed through 2022-23 at a $2M AAV
After a total overhaul of the crease last offseason — which sent Canes fans into a frenzy after the 2020-21 performance of both Petr Mrazek and Alex Nedeljkovic — there was a lot of initial skepticism with the team’s additions of both Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta — both of whom had proven to be talented goaltenders in the past but came to Raleigh surrounded with question marks.
For Raanta, the biggest knock on him was his ability to stay healthy, which ultimately limited the heights he was able to reach in Arizona. Nobody questioned his talent level, but he’d only been able to start 40+ games just one season in his career and, at age 33, the durability concerns have limited him to being mostly a career backup.
When the Canes signed him to a very reasonable 2-year deal ($2M AAV) last summer, I was initially very inspired by the move. As I eluded to, the question has never been his effectiveness — when in goal, he’s been very consistent throughout his career, as illustrated by his career .919 save percentage despite playing a majority of his career on bad teams (see: the dumpster fire that is the Arizona Coyotes).
I figured that’d he’d be the ideal “1B” goaltender that any contending franchise would be looking for. Because of his skill level, he has the ability to start for long stretches of games if needed and keep a team competitive. We saw that when Andersen sustained an injury late in the season that kept him from being available in the playoffs, and Raanta was there to step into the starting role.
Throughout the regular season, Raanta was able to stay healthy for the majority of it but wasn’t really called upon too often due to the All-Star level season that Andersen put together in front of him. Raanta appeared in 25 games, and proved himself as an extremely reliable option for the Canes with just 5 regulation losses and a solid .912 save percentage. As far as backups go, he’s established himself as a top-tier option in that regard and gave the team a tandem that they were largely able to rely upon.
In the playoffs, he stepped up in Andersen’s place and really showed himself to be a top goaltender. He held a .922 save percentage throughout the playoffs and was really able to steal some games for the group, specifically in the Boston series. He was virtually unbeatable on home-ice in Raleigh, and although he wasn’t quite as effective on the road, it’s hard to put too much of the blame on him considering the lackadaisical performances the team in front of him put together in most of those games.
ONE ON ONE— Bally Sports South (@BallySportsSO) May 10, 2022
What a save on Brad Marchand from Antti Raanta. pic.twitter.com/ZgaH6Z0IGJ
As a whole, Raanta did his job admirably and stepped up to the plate when the Canes called on him, which is really all you can ask from your backup. I’d argue that he probably exceeded expectations, and has been the best secondary option that the team has had in years.
Moving into next season — which is the last year on Raanta’s contract — I think the team would be wise to keep him around, despite him being a pretty valuable trade chip should the team elect to go that route. Of course, Canes fans got a glimpse of future starter Pyotr Kochetkov throughout the season and fell in love with him, but “Koochie” is eligible to play in the AHL and the team would be wise to hold onto 3 capable goaltenders — especially considering the troubles that Andersen and Raanta have have staying healthy.
All in all, Rants has a fantastic season and history suggests that whenever he’s on the ice, he’s an effective tendy that can help any team in this league.
How would you grade Antti Raanta’s 2021-22 season?
This poll is closed
A - Outstanding Performance
B - Above Average Performance
C - Average Performance
D - Below Average Performance
F - Significantly Below Average Performance