Goalie swap may need a while to be judged

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

BOSTON -- No trade is as daunting for a National Hockey League general manager than one involving a goaltender for a goaltender.

They are impact deals that can boost or bite your team right away, or tick like a time bomb for years, sometimes exploding to the benefit of a third team.

John Ferguson of the Maple Leafs made such a risky move in the summer, dealing 2005 first-round draft pick Tuukka Rask to Boston for former Calder Trophy winner Andrew Raycroft.

It was the first time a Leafs GM had made a straight-up swap of netminders in 23 years (anyone recall Rick St. Croix from Montreal for Bunny Larocque?) and the 12th in team history if you include the goalies as part of larger deals.

Ferguson said a great deal of homework went into the Rask-Raycroft swap, not the least of which was kissing off a first-round pick on a team with a history of waste in that area.

"Draft and development are critical aspects, but there are exceptions to the rule," Ferguson said yesterday, prior to last night's Leafs-Bruins game. "Martin Gerber and Cristobal Huet were 30 years plus before they were ready for the NHL (neither with their original team).

"Take a look at those drafted high such as Dan Blackburn and Pascal Leclaire," Ferguson said. "It takes time for them to develop where Martin Brodeur and Cam Ward (also first-rounders) were ready right away.

"You just hope and plan that the ones you retain are the ones that give you the best return. San Jose is going through that decision process now (juggling Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala). Chicago had Dominik Hasek and Ed Belfour at one time and let both go."

Ferguson did have the luxury of weighing Rask against Justin Pogge, Canada's top junior stopper, as well as two NHL backups in Jean-Sebastien Aubin and Mikael Tellqvist.

Interestingly, the Toronto GM dealt Tellqvist to Phoenix last week for forward Tyson Nash and a fourth-round pick, while Aubin got the call here last night to try and reverse a five-game losing streak in which Raycroft played exclusively.

Rask is in Europe now, ranked behind veteran Tim Thomas and fellow Finn Hannu Toivonen on the Bruins' depth chart, but is expected to make a bid for work next season.

The Leafs thought last year was an abberation for Raycroft, who struggled with a contract issue, injury and new rules, eventually falling behind Thomas and Toivonen.

NET RESULT OF THE DEAL

Trades the Leafs have made involving a goalie for a goalie:

2006: Andrew Raycroft from Boston for Tuukka Rask.

1993: Daren Puppa from Buffalo for Grant Fuhr*

1991: Grant Fuhr from Edmonton for Peter Ing.*

1983: Nick Ricci from Pittsburgh for Vincent Tremblay.*

1983: Rick St. Croix from Philadelphia for Michel Larocque.

1973: Doug Favell from Philadelphia for Bernie Parent.*

1973: Ed Johnston from Boston for Jacques Plante.*

1971: Bernie Parent from Philadelphia for Bruce Gamble.*

1961: Don Simmons from Boston for Ed Chadwick.

1952: Harry Lumley from Chicago for Al Rollins.*

1933: George Hainsworth from Montreal for Lorne Chabot.

1928: Lorne Chabot from NY Rangers for John Ross Roach.*

* -- Indicates part of a larger trade


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