Colorado Fans, Prepare For an Avalanche Of Frustration
When Toronto traded Tuukka Rask for Raycroft, I wasn't entirely pleased. However, I saw a bright side to the trade, when I heard Raycroft was a former Calder Trophy winner. I thought maybe last season's playoff miss would be forgotten with a new, young goalie between the pipes.
I only later found out about his terrible season after his Calder win, which explains why the Bruins traded him away, and even had him as a healthy scratch for the majority of the 2005-06 season.
What surprises me (well, more so angers me, since nothing should be a surprise when the Leafs make a stupid trade) is that Toronto traded the #1 ranked European goalie that they had drafted the prior year, for a goalie who managed only eight wins the season before the acquired him.
Even in juniors, Raycroft wasn't good, although he improved along the way. He played two seasons in my hometown of Sudbury (OHL). In his first season, he played 33 games, had a record of 8-16-5, a goals-against-average of 4.16, and a save percentage of .890.
His second season wasn't much better, when he played 45 games, had a record of 17-22-5, a goals-against average of 4.11, and a save percentage of .897 (and had one shutout too, shockingly). He then went to Kingston, where he improved quite a bit. He had a record of 33-20-5, a goals-against-average of 3.43, and a save percentage of .918.
He was drafted 135th overall in the 1998 Entry Draft by the Bruins. After playing a couple of seasons on Boston's minor team, it looked like Raycroft might not be such a terrible goalie, considering he had a good minor season (23-10-3, G.A.A of 2.50, and a SV% of .917), before his "rookie of the year" campaign in 2004-05.
Raycroft played 56 games for the Bruins in 2004-05, and had an absolutely fantastic year, with a record of 29-18-9, and goals-against-average of 2.05, and a save percentage of .926. However, as I said before, the following season (2005-06) Raycroft tanked (8-19-2, G.A.A of 3.70, and a SV% of .879) which led to him being scratched, and then to his trade to Toronto.
Raycroft's starting job in Toronto was less than successful. In fact, it was brutal. He was up and down all season (mainly down) and it seemed he always folded right when the team needed him.
Fans and reporters eventually were slandering Raycroft, many saying he "couldn't stop a beachball", which I believe isn't far from the truth. Although Raycroft tied the Leafs record for most wins by a goalie in one season (37), it was the team that won all of those games.
Raycroft didn't "steal" any games for the Leafs. It was more them bailing him out. He played 72 games, won those 37, but had a goals-against-average of 2.99, and a save percentage of .894. Obviously, the Leafs missed the playoffs.
Once John Ferguson realized the mistake he made, he traded for Vesa Toskala, who took the starting job for Raycroft, thankfully. Although Toronto had only 83 points this season, compared to 91 last season, it was nothing to do with goaltending.
Toskala did great in my books. Maybe it was just shocking for me to see a Leafs goalie stop something, but still, Toskala did what he had to, and had a solid season this year.
Raycroft was bought out by the Leafs this offseason. And then, Colorado signed him to a one-year deal. Which leads me to my title: Avalanche fans, get ready, because with the loss of Theodore, Raycroft will be seeing a lot more games than he did in Toronto.
No, I don't expect him to have the starting job (for your sakes anyways) but if Budaj is injured or the coach decides it's Raycroft's time to play, prepare to be yelling at your television.
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