The Minnesota Wild are apparently in hot pursuit of Finnish goalie Antti Raanta according to StarTribune’s Michael Russo. Raanta is having one of the best years he could have right now playing for Assat Pori this past season and then recently representing Finland in the IIHF World Championship. The Wild aren’t the only team who is in pursuit as it has been reported that both the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets are also interested. Raanta has apparently made a decision about his professional career with the NHL, but hasn’t yet told anyone. Regardless, he is not officially able to sign with any team until tomorrow.
Raanta earned a record of 21-10-11 with a 1.85 goals-against average and .943 save percentage during the regular season and 1.45 goals-against average and .955 save percentage in the playoffs. He earned the league MVP and Best goalie honors as well as the Jari Kurri Trophy, which Russo explains is similar to the NHL’s Conn Smythe.
It would appear that with this possible signing the Wild are looking to replace Niklas Backstrom; however, they are not looking to do that, but rather bring Raanta into training camp to compete for a position in net and, perhaps, help him develop into the next starting goaltender. With that being said, the Wild are not against re-signing Backstrom either and I would guess they would be even more willing if things do not work out with signing Raanta.