By: Jon Cunningham
The signing of Goaltender Scott Clemmensen by the Leafs has raised a lot of questions. He has reportedly been signed to a 1-Year deal worth 1-Million, the Contract also is reported to be a two-way contract, meaning Clemmensen can be sent down to the Marlies and only a small fraction his contract will count against the cap.
Well, this is what I think.
Clemmensen obviously hasn't proven himself to be an NHL Caliber Back-up, but who can playing behind Marty Brodeur for your whole career? Clemmensen has played a mere 25 NHL Games in his Career, with a record of 7-6-4 and his GAA is a very respectable 2.82. And the question everyone is asking is, Where will Clemmensen play and what does this mean for the future of Raycroft?
The controversial trade at last years draft day that shipped highly ranked prospect goalie Tuukka Rask to Boston for one-time Calder Trophy Winner Andrew Raycroft all depends on who you ask if was a good trade. In 06-07 Raycroft tied the team high record in wins with 37, but he was somewhat inconsistent. One thing Leafs Fans need to notice is that we aren't used to seeing a goalie play in 72/82 games, the Leafs haven't had a young goalie to carry a very high percentage of the work load since Felix Potvin. Yes its true Raycroft did not fully return to his Calder Trophy Winning Form, with a GAA of 2.99 and a questionable Save% of .894. Obviously not phenomenal stats, but they were enough to get us within one point of the playoffs. I think Leafs Fans have been guilty, myself included, of being far to rough on Raycroft. Once again the Question with Raycroft is: Will he be around for the 07-08 Season, and If so, how much will he play?
With the draft day trade for Vesa Toskala, and the signing to a two year extension soon after, he is here to stay, at least for the next 3 Seasons. With career stats of 65W-28L-10OT, 2.34GAA, a .914Save%, Vesa is poised to be our #1, but wasn't able to steal the show from Evgeni Nabokov in the Shark Tank. Vesa's only real pressure starter experience was during the Sharks Playoffs in 05-06 playing 11 games going 6-5, with a 2.44GAA and .910Save%. Vesa's most games played in one season is 38, so the main question for him is: Can he handle the work load and pressure of a Starter in the center of the Hockey Universe?
So, all in all these are the Answers to those Questions from my point of view.
Q:Where will Clemmensen play and what does this mean for the future of Raycroft?
A:Clemmensen will most likely play with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL to share the workload with Future Leafs Netminder Justin Pogge. From what I've seen of Clemmensen and Pogge they are both tall goaltenders who play a similar style. Clemmensen may be able to teach Pogge some tips and tricks.
Q:Will Raycroft be around for the 07-08 Season, and If so, how much will he play?
A:Rayzor should be around in 07-08 to fight for the top job with Toskala, the competition between the two should elevate both of their games. I still see Toskala getting the starting job but playing 50-60 and Raycroft getting the other 20-32 games. I just don't see JFJ being able to deal his contract. Lets look at it, for an approximate combined salary of 3.375-Million next season for a possible 1-1A goaltending tandem could be a hell of a steal.
Q:Can Vesa handle the work load and pressure of a Starter in the center of the Hockey Universe?
A:The answer to this question will only come with time, If he can, he's a hell of a steal, if he can't we should have Raycroft to be able to split the load with him.
So thats the way I see the Goaltending Situation here in The Center of the Hockey Universe, TORONTO.