The Chicago Blackhawks have agreed to terms on a one-year entry-level contract with highly touted Finnish goalie Antti Raanta, beating out the Edmonton Oilers & Minnesota Wild for his services.
Raanta was the most valuable player in the SM-Liiga this season after posting a 1.85 goals-against average and .943 save percentage during the regular season for Assat-Pori. He also led Assat to the SM-Liiga title with a 1.45 goals-against average and .955 save percentage, which earned him MVP honors for the postseason as well. After the conclusion of the season, Raanta was Team Finland’s No. 1 goalie at the recent IIHF World Championships, becoming one of the top goaltenders of the tournament as the Finns lost to the Americans in the bronze medal game. Raanta registered a 48-27-16 record over five seasons with Lukko Rauma and Assat Pori of SM-liiga from 2007 to 2013, an impressive resume for the 24 year old puckstopper.
With the signing, its more than likely Ray Emery is gone at the end of the 2013 NHL playoffs, as he is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July. While not as flashy as some of the smaller goalies nor highly skilled, Raanta uses his size to advantage and is very consistent with his positioning, similar to other Finnish netminders Vesa Toskala, Antero Niittymaki and Antti Niemi.
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