Depending on who you talked to, Raycroft was a love 'em or hate 'em kind of guy. Playing in Toronto is a tough challenge, so your mistakes are magnified by 10. But has a change of scenery changed the way others view Raycroft?
Surely it seems that way, as he has gotten the start over Budaj on several occasions. He's accepted the challenge and performed well this season though posting .905 save percentage and a 2.71 Goals Against Average along with nine wins in fifteen games.
During the 2006-2007 season, he was supposed to be the Maple Leafs' No.1 goalie and despite posting an impressive 37 wins, he never met their expectations and Toronto failed to make the post-season.
Thinking about how he came to Toronto, people felt we gave up our future for him. Trading now Boston Bruins prospect Tuuka Rask for Andrew Raycroft was surely a head scratcher.
Since he was unable to get Toronto in the playoffs, then general manager John Ferguson Jr. traded draft picks to San Jose for Vesa Toskala and Mark Bell. If Raycroft was not questioning his position on the team before, he sure was then.
He had his chances early on in the year, but never materialized as the No.1 goalie and Toskala seemed to thrive from this. Raycroft wanted back in, but Toskala played on his head to solidify his status as the new number one goalie.
They failed to make the playoffs again and at the end of 2007-2008 season, Raycroft was put on waivers as he only managed two wins in 19 games and had a lousy .876 save percentage and 3.92 Goals Against Average.
Raycroft went unclaimed and was ultimately a free agent where he was signed by Colorado. Their goalie was Theodore but he was not resigned and they took a chance on Raycroft as their backup to Budaj.
However, now it appears that Raycroft is their No.1 goalie, and makes no mistake as he continues playing like one. If he keeps this up he may find a permanent home in Colorado soon.
You just know he's dying to play his old team when Toronto heads to Denver on Thursday. It is sure to be an entertaining game and Raycroft should get his chance to prove to his old club that he's still got it.
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