The Edmonton Oilers had the opportunity to claim goaltender Antti Raanta off waivers from the Carolina Hurricanes but opted not to. Raanta has been struggling so far this season, but for his cap hit and previous history he could have been an upgrade on Calvin Pickard.
The Oilers’ goaltending situation has been a concern for several seasons. Despite having superstar Connor McDavid leading the offense, the team has struggled to find a reliable goaltender to rely on. This season has been no different, with the Oilers’ goaltenders posting a combined save percentage of just .885%.
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Raanta has had a rough start to the season as well though. He has a GAA of 3.61 and a SV% of 0.854. He has played in 12 games this season, posting a record of 6-5-1. These numbers are a major reason for Raanta’s demotion as well as the fact no one claimed him.
Just because Raanta’s performance this season has been poor, it may still have been a mistake for this team not to claim him. He has a proven track record of success in the NHL. In the 2022-23 season, he posted a .910 save percentage and a 2.23 goals-against average in 27 games for the Hurricanes. The Oilers could have used a goaltender with that kind of performance in their lineup.
The decision not to claim Raanta may have also been based on the Oilers’ salary cap situation. Raanta has a cap hit of $1.5 million this season, which is a good amount for a team that is already close to the salary cap limit. The Oilers could have been able to make the numbers work, even if it meant moving a player to the minors.
The Oilers’ struggles in net have been a major factor in their inconsistent play this season. While they have the talent to score goals, they have also given up a significant number of goals due to poor goaltending. The decision not to claim Raanta off waivers may have cost the Oilers a chance to solidify their goaltending and improve their chances of making a deep playoff run this season.
I understand why the Oilers did not claim Raanta, as his numbers this season were poor and his cap hit is more than Pickard. That fact is though Raanta has a better history than the two current goalies on the Edmonton Oilers roster.