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Leafs Acquire Raycroft

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

June 24, 2006

VANCOUVER (CP) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs had to give up a netminder to shore up their goaltending situation.

General manager John Ferguson dealt the rights to Finnish prospect Tuukka Rask to the Boston Bruins in exchange for goaltender Andrew Raycroft during the NHL entry draft Saturday.

Ferguson said it was tough to give up a top prospect like Rask, but Raycroft can help the team now.

"He's already proven himself to be a No. 1,'' said Ferguson. "He's a former rookie of the year at that position and it really fits in well with our group and what we're trying to do going forward.''

The Leafs have an option on veteran goalie Ed Belfour and will likely choose to buy him out for $1.5 million US rather than pay him $4.5 million to play. Jean-Sebastien Aubin and Mikael Tellqvist are under contract and will battle for the backup role.

Raycroft, 26, from Belleville, Ont., won the Calder Trophy in 2004 when he went 29-18-9 with a goals-against average of 2.05. He dropped down the Bruins' depth chart behind Hannu Toivonen and Tim Thomas last season when he posted a 8-19-2 record and a 3.71 GAA.

The Leafs selected Rask with the 21st pick last year and he was named the best goaltender at this year's world junior hockey championship. The Leafs already have a blue-chip prospect in Justin Pogge of the Calgary Hitmen, who was named the WHL's MVP and top goaltender last season.

"We paid a good price, but we understood we had to move something of value to get this type of player,'' said Ferguson. "We've done that and we're excited to have (Raycroft) in the fold.''

Raycroft signed a $1.35-million qualifying offer from the Bruins but Ferguson will try to get his signature on a long-term contract.

"We don't anticipate any hurdles getting him done for the right number and whatever the right term is,'' Ferguson said.

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