Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Cost of Raycrap

When JFJ first made the deal to acquire Andrew Raycoft from the Boston Bruins for Tuukka Rask I wasn't even in the country. I was in England, enjoying my tea and crumpets while Big Brother played on the teletube. My friend messaged me to tell me that the deal had just happened. Having watched Rask perform in the World Juniors and never being a fan of Raycroft (in fact I correctly predicted he would choke in the playoffs his Calder year) I was pissed. I wanted to fly back to Toronto and beat JFJ down. If I had known that deal would still be costing us 4 years later I would have. At the time though I thought I would give JFJ the benefit of the doubt. After all if Raycroft returned to his Calder winning form then the Leafs would only be partially ripped off instead of outright robbed. I don't want to call JFJ a fucking moron but to trade the player then considered to be the best goalie outside North America for a player who was a third stringer on a bad Bruins team wasn't exactly a genius GM move. Perhaps though Raycroft could have been good, had he, you know, had any talent.

Alas, it was not to be. His tenure will best be known for his glove hand or lack thereof. Every team in the league had the scouting report on Raycroft. Go glove side and you would beat him. His glove was as easy to score on as a Carlton St. hooker. In his entire tenure in Toronto Raycroft probably made one glove save .

Despite tying the record for wins (if that doesn't prove what a dubious statistic wins are nothing will) Raycroft led the Leafs to just missing the playoffs. In the penultimate game of the season against the Montreal Canadiens Raycroft was pulled in favour of J.S. Aubin. The Leafs staged a miraculous comeback and won despite him. Then to top it all off Raycroft had the nerve to say he was happy with his season. Happy? Any goalie who is happy with his season after missing the playoffs is not competitive enough to be a goalie in house league, let alone the NHL. Happy? A goalie who ranked at or near the bottom of all other statistical categories for starting goalies had no reason to be happy. Happy? His response solidified the country club atmosphere of the Leafs at the time. An atmosphere that had clearly been around for a long time but had intensified with the moron in charge.

It was clear that the Leafs could not endure another season with Raycrap between the pipes and JFJ in his infinite wisdom traded a first, a second, and a fourth to the San Jose Sharks for Vesa Toskala plus the future prison resident, Mark Bell. JFJ probably threw in a resort in El Boca Vista as well. Toskala was the solid, dependable starting goalie the Leafs were missing since the buyout of Belfour. Unfortunately, Raycrap was still there. Lurking in the shadows, under his hat, he came in every so often for a guaranteed loss and the Leafs once again fell just short of the playoffs. Toskala was forced to play in almost every game because there was no faith in Raycroft and even when he did get the start he was often pulled and Toskala had to relieve him on his off-day. The price to acquire Toskala was steep and would not have been required had Raycroft shown even a modicum of skill. At the end of the season new GM Cliff Fletcher was detained and questioned by the FBI because of the security threat Raycroft posed letting illegal immigrants enter the country over his left glove side. Raycroft was bought out and proceeded to conspire with Peter Budaj to help tank the Colorado Avalanche season.

Meanwhile Burke is desperate to restock the goaltending cupboard by attempting to lure Johan Gustavsson from Sweden. He too is considered the best goalie outside North America. Luckily, the Leafs no longer have a moron in charge.

Cost: Tuukka Rask, first round pick, second round pick, fourth round pick, enduring Mark Bell, buying out waiving Mark Bell, buying out Raycroft, national security and my piece of mind.


  1. Actually we didn't buy out Bell, the Rangers picked him up on re-entry waivers

  2. Thanks for the correction. I knew that. Brain fart.

  3. There's an element of opportunity cost to Raycroft as well. By expending Rask on Raycroft, the Leafs were unable to use that asset to patch other, more pressing, holes in the organization.

    Raycroft's performance in 2007-08 arguably also cost the Leafs post-season experience and post-season revenues.

    Raycroft's failure, also meant the additional cost of acquiring Toskala.

    Toskala's failure means further future costs incurred by the Leafs to repair the goaltending situation.

    In short, JFJ's trade for Raycroft was a blunder of epic proportions.