Canucks make mistake with Raycroft

Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that the Canucks have signed free agent goaltender Andrew Raycroft. In keeping with club policy terms were not disclosed. Raycroft, 29, spent the 2008.09 season as a member of the Colorado Avalanche where he posted a record of 12-16-0 with a 3.14 Goals-Against-Average and a .892 Save-Percentage.

>> team release

Apparently this is a one-year deal and for not a lot of cash, but I haven't yet heard if it's a one- or two-year contract. I imagine it's a one-way deal, and if so, it's a big mistake.

Despite the fact he'll play sparingly behind Roberto Luongo, Raycroft can still be a major liability. I've long said it's a huge mistake to underrate the backup position, as starters often get hurt. Just look at what the Devils managed without Martin Brodeur last season.

Two more key points: (a) there are plenty of solid unrestricted free agent netminders available and not a lot of spots for them to go, and (b) Raycroft has posted some of the worst totals among all NHL goaltenders ever since winning the Calder Trophy five years ago.

The worst goaltenders, by save percentage, postlockout (minimum 40 games played):

Rk   Player   GP   W   L   T/OT   PTS%   GAA   SV%
1 Dan Cloutier  46 16 21 4 0.439 3.65 0.875
2 Jussi Markkanen  59 20 21 7 0.49 3.13 0.882
3 Andrew Raycroft  152 59 69 16 0.465 3.27 0.888
4 Robert Esche  58 27 20 6 0.566 3.34 0.889
5 John Grahame  102 44 42 4 0.511 3.11 0.889
6 Marc Denis  104 39 48 3 0.45 3.28 0.890
7 Jocelyn Thibault  50 11 21 7 0.372 3.48 0.890
8 Hannu Toivonen  61 18 24 10 0.442 3.37 0.890
9 Johan Holmqvist  95 48 31 9 0.597 2.94 0.891
10 Johan Hedberg  109 48 35 9 0.571 3.22 0.892

Other than Hedberg, who's got a contract for another season in Atlanta, Raycroft's the only one of the players here still in the NHL. Kudos to his agent, but this is one signing that could really come back to bite Vancouver — especially if they plan on moving out Cory Schneider.

I don't get it.

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