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The Puck Stops Here

Look What Else Chicago Is Doing

At this point in the playoffs the Chicago Blackhawks have to be the favorite to win the Stanley Cup.  They won the Presidents Trophy and are up two games to none against Los Angeles.  The earlier Stanley Cup favorite the Pittsburgh Penguins are two games behind the Boston Bruins.  With the success of their Stanley Cup run, it would be easy to imagine that is all the Chicago Blackhawks were doing but they have made a move that could pay big dividends into the future.  Chicago signed the best goalie who is not currently in the NHL.  They signed Antti Raanta from Finland.  He is a 24 year old who has improved every season of his career in Finland to date and this year he was the MVP of the Finnish Elite League in both the regular season and also in the playoffs.  He posted a remarkable .943 saves percentage and a 1.85 GAA.

While Corey Crawford is yet to establish himself as a top goalie and he has never been a serious Vezina candidate, he is having a good playoff.  Chicago's number one goalie position is pretty safe for now.  It is the backup position that Raanta is expected to take over.  Chicago's current backup goalie, Ray Emery is an unrestricted free agent this summer. I imagine he will not be back in Chicago. 

Raanta is likely a more than capable NHL backup goalie and he possesses the potential to take over as a number one goalie in the future.  Chicago made a big move to help secure their future today and their present looks pretty good also.  That is a sign of a well-run franchise.

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While Corey Crawford is yet to establish himself as a top goalie

I don’t think that is much of a question based on his play this year including the playoffs.

Posted by timbits on 06/04/13 at 08:21 AM ET

blammo's avatar

I remember when everyone on this board was mocking the Blackhawks for having to disassemble their team immediately after winning their 2010 SC.

Here they are 3 years later, after making significant roster changes, on the verge of competing for another cup. I’d say Bowman Jr. is doing a pretty good job.

Not sure I would say the Blackhawks are favourites at this point though. The Bruins are a bigger, more skilled version of LA, while the Blackhawks are a similarly skilled but more disciplined version of the Penguins. I am hoping for an original six final, I think it could be very entertaining.

Posted by blammo from Vancouver, BC on 06/04/13 at 10:18 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Blammo

There are some interesting points in what you say.  Chicago would be an elite team if the salary cap allowed them to stay together.  The core players (Kane, Toews, Keith, Seabrook) are better today than they are in 2010.  They lost a lot of depth in 2010 but they were smart enough to keep the best players together.  Imagine how much better they would be today if that didn’t happen.  We fans lost a chance to see a team that might have been one of the best ever.  That is a real loss.  The 2013 Blackhawks would have been a truly elite team today if the system let them stay together in 2010.  As it is they are a pretty good team but not a historically elite one.  None of those exist anymore.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/04/13 at 11:25 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

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