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I guess it was inevitable. On social media last night and this morning, after Antti Raanta’s 4-0 shutout of the Flyers, some Hawks fans are already talking about a goalie controversy.
Slow. Down. There.
As many regular readers know, I’m not the biggest Corey Crawford fan out there. But it is way too early—and completely unnecessary—and practically impossible—to talk about “replacing” Crawford with Raanta, much less shipping Crawford and his $6 million salary elsewhere.
Crawford is the guy the organization is committed to, barring significant injury and/ or erosion of skills and/or a meltdown of Huet-ian proportions. He might not be glamorous or glorious, but he’s battle-tested, technically pretty sound and solid.
And the contract is not untradeable but pretty close.
I’ll even go as far as admitting I’m a Raanta fan. There’s something about his demeanor I like; in spite of some technical flaws, he has ice water in his veins, and he’s gotten results everywhere he’s played.
But the Flyers are also not a very good team. Great team to hone your game against, which the Hawks did up and down the ice last night, but not a really good yardstick for who your starting goalie should be.
The NHL isn’t the NFL. And goalies aren’t quarterbacks. In the NFL, they say that if you have two starting QBs, you don’t really have one. But in the NHL, especially if you’re serious about winning the Stanley Cup, the schedule dictates that your #2 has to play 20 games or so a year at minimum, and better be good enough to carry you then or if the #1 goes down with an injury.
Having two really good goalies is a luxury—especially if the salary cap allows you to carry both for any period of time.
Meanwhile the Hawks are 4-0-1, heading to Nashville tomorrow night. Back with more later,
This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.