Saturday, June 24, 2006

Is Raycroft worth the Rask?

I don’t work the phones with NHL GMs so I can’t say with any certainty what the cost of a acquiring a starting NHL goalie is.

The cost of a third-string, former Calder cup winning, RFA who held out last year and is recovering from innumerable injuries? Apparently the price for that is a top young goaltending prospect.

While the Leafs clearly needed an upgrade in goal, I don’t know that Raycroft is the guy. His stats are very middle of the pack and the history of the NHL is littered with the corpses of highly touted goalies who’ve turned out to be little more than one-year wonders (my gift to you: Steve Penny, Darren Pang, Peter Sidorkiewicz, Jim Carey).

I can’t say I understand the timing on this deal either, the UFA market is just one week away. I can only presume that JFJ has determined that UFA goalies are looking for too much dough or too long a deal and that GMs are asking too much for the rash of over-priced former starters who are supposedly on the market.

If there’s one thing the Raycroft trade absolutely confirms about JFJ's tenure with the Leafs it’s that this reign is all about the high-risk, high-reward deal. Got a former great who’s suffered a horrendous injury? An aging star that’s on a terrible string? An over the hill goalie with a wonky back? A former 40 goal sniper battling some off-ice troubles? Give JFJ a call - he loves these “upside” deals like Isiah Thomas loves his crazy pills.


  1. Anonymous7:41 pm

    Well, if the Leafs are going to take a chance on a flash-in-the-pan, why not go with the guy who won 10 games in a row to end the season last year? At least that wouldn't have cost a Finnish goalie, which is the closest thing to a sure thing you'll see in the new NHL. I would have traded Pogge.

    I don't get this whole "proven number one" stuff. Cam Ward, Duane Rollason, Jussi Markenen: all guys supposedly not number ones. Given the chance, they did it.

    They should have given Aubin a shot. Put the money towards a defence that will make him look good. I guess Raycroft is cheap, and there is that thing they call the sophomore jinx. Who knows, it's so crazy, it just might work.

  2. I hear you Anonymous.

    I think the last position the Leafs need to updrade is net. Resources should be going towards filling the 2/3 slots on D and landing a few premier wingers to play with Sundin.

    Instead, the Leafs get another player who has lots of upside with little in the way of short-term cost.

  3. Anonymous10:21 am

    Worth the Rask? Never. The Leafs not only have an ace up their sleeve with Pogge, they had another with Rask, and what's better than pocket aces? If one doesn't pan out, there's the other.
    I thought we gave Aubin a one-year extension to give him a shot to take the reins next year, with Tellqvist doing the benchwork. Nobody had more faith in Tellqvist's abilities to take over last year, but clearly, if he wasn't ready to step in last year, he'll never be. Raycroft is far from a sure thing, but even if he performs, I never like the idea of trading a blue chip prospect to a division team. If there was one thing he did right, though, it was not paying out his ear to pick up a top flight tender. Still with some space to make some moves, we can look towards the likes of a McKee, Ward (or both) and maybe even an Elias (although that seems slightly optimistic).
    I think JFJ bungled this one, let's just pray he doesn't give up Steen and Kaberle for Pronger, that would just be a textbook Leafs management gaffe, regardless of how good Pronger is. I'm sure that he sees something in Raycroft that everybody else is missing right now. Let's just hope its there.

  4. I think Raycroft could be a steal, is a bargain, and is not a bad move. As puts it, "I don't know why you would trade an Ontario native with something to prove to a rival team in Toronto. Why not talk about his mom while you're at it?"

  5. Ninja - the opeartive word in your post is Raycroft could be a steal.

    JFJ's signing of Allison, Lindros, Czerkawski and O'Neill could have been steals too.

    We all know how that ended up...

  6. Of course, that's why we got a Calder winner for a prospect. Buy low, sell high. This is definitely a buy low.