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Gustavsson and Rynnas: like Bester and Wregget?

Credit the Leafs with leaving no stone un-turned in terms of pursuing undrafted college and European free agents.

The signing of the young Finnish goalie, Rynnas, provides the team with some additional depth in goal. A two-year contract means he and Gustavsson will both see their current deals lapse at the same time, after the 2011-’12 season.

It’s far too early to know if this young man will develop the skills needed to play at the NHL level. He seems to have a lower profile than Gustavsson at the same time a year ago, but you have to believe the Leafs see something in him- and he didn’t even cost a draft choice.

Having two good young goalies is a luxury most teams don’t have- though Montreal is living with the growing pains of Halak and Price- both talented young goalies. Philosophically, most teams seem to like to have a fully declared “number one”. That is especially so in the cap age when teams will usually only spend a certain amount on a “back-up”.

It’s funny. I’m not a Habs fan, but if I were, I’d like the Montreal goalie situation. It’s hard enough to sign or develop one outstanding young goalie. In theory, it should be a fantastic thing to have two guys who can play at a high level, with no drop-off in play when the other guy is in the net.

But we’re talking about highly competitive and often sensitive young athletes. I recall when the Leafs drafted both Allan Bester and Ken Wregget in the early ‘80s. As a Leaf fan I was excited at the prospect of two guys who both had played great as juniors (weren’t they both on the National World Junior team one year?) being a ‘tandem’ with the Leafs.

Both had their moments. I was a Bester guy. I always thought he would have been even better -and more confident- if he had been fully supported by team management. Wregget ended up having a 14-year career (mostly elsewhere) but the situation never seemed quite comfortable for either of them in Toronto as teammates.

The same thing is happening in Montreal now, it seems. Like having two good quarterbacks on the same team, it can sometimes split the media, the fans and most importantly, the team itself.

So, good on the Leafs for bringing in more talent. It’s always positive to have talented, young assets.

Hopefully, if Gustavsson and Rynnas are indeed sharing goalie duties someday, they’ll both handle it well.
Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Blog

1 comment:

  1. Remember when we had 2 great prospects in Rask & Pogge and we had to trade one of 'em away, yeah...

    It's better to have a good No. 1 than 2 similar 2s. I wonder if Jonas is going to feel any pressure from Jussi. And say we ever make the playoffs with those two, having to decide between 2 goalies heading into the playoffs isn't a great thing to do.

    Hopefully Jonas develops into a great starter and Rynnas into a trusty backup.