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Raanta, Hellberg to battle for Rangers' backup job

by Staff /

New York Rangers goalie Antti Raanta has a Stanley Cup ring and more experience, but coach Alain Vigneault wasn't ready to name him Henrik Lundqvist's backup yet.

"We have some tough decisions to make and I want to see how it all unfolds," Vignealt said, according to the Rangers Twitter on Sunday. "It's an open battle between Raanta and [Magnus Hellberg]."

Raanta, 26, played in 12 games during the regular season with the Chicago Blackhawks, going 7-4-1 with a 1.89 goals-against average, .936 save percentage and two shutouts. He did not play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs after he was overtaken by Scott Darling as Corey Crawford's backup, but will get his name on the Cup and got to spend a day with it in Finland during the offseason. Raanta, who was traded to the Rangers on June 27 for forward Ryan Haggerty, is 20-9-5 in 39 NHL games.

Hellberg, 24, was acquired in a trade with the Nashville Predators on July 1 for a 2017 draft pick. He has made one NHL appearance which was in relief in 2013-14.

Vigneault said he would dress each of them for the Rangers' first two preseason games, on Monday against the New Jersey Devils and Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers and that they would see time in each game.

The Rangers traded Cam Talbot, who was their backup last season and played majority of their games when Lundqvist was injured, to the Edmonton Oilers on the same day they traded for Raanta.

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