Backup goalie is likely the most underrated position in hockey. The position offers relative anonymity, a majority of the season spent on the bench wearing a baseball cap.
Antti Raanta has gotten a chance to experience a lot more than that this season, and to say he’s making the most of it is probably the understatement of the young season.
In a week that featured back-to-back shutouts for the 27-year old, Raanta was awarded the NHL’s 2nd Star of the Week, becoming the second Ranger to earn recognition in the league’s weekly honor program. Kevin Hayes was the first, earning 3rd Star honors for the week ending November 6.
Making three consecutive starts for the first time in his career, Raanta has had the hot hand for the Rangers in the early going, allowing them to rest their regular tender Henrik Lundqvist. In those three games, Raanta posted a GAA of 0.33, also accumulating a save percentage of .940 to go along with two shutouts. On a shutout related not Raanta was able to tally a shutout streak lasting 176:22, ranging from the second period of last Thursday’s Winnipeg game to the second period of Tuesday’s game against Chicago.
Raanta joined the Rangers in June 2015, when he was traded to the Rangers from the Blackhawks in exchange for Ryan Haggerty. He appeared in 25 games last season, posting a 11-6-2 record, and a GAA of 2.24 to go with one shutout. He also appeared in three playoff games, all in relief. He is 8-2- with a GAA of 1.69 on the young season thus far.
Sandwiching Raanta in the Star of the Week honoros were a pair of division rivals. Sam Gagner of Columbus (6 points in 3 games last week) earned 3rd Star honors, while Jakub Voracek of Philadelphia (9 points in 3 games last week earned the top