Razor's future up in the air

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

If Andrew Raycroft has made his last start as a Maple Leaf, the 27-year-old goaltender is not losing much sleep.

"There are some days you wake up when you are not really excited about the situation, but the reality of it is there are millions of people who would love to be in my position," Raycroft said as he peeled off his sweat-soaked equipment after practice yesterday. "Ten years ago, if you told me I would be in this exact position right now, I would take it in a heart beat."

Everyone in the hockey world knew that Raycroft's job as the Leafs' No. 1 goalie was over when former general manager John Ferguson traded for Vesa Toskala last summer and signed the Finnish netminder to a two-year, $8-million US extension. But that Raycroft, who tied a club mark with 37 wins in 2006-07, would be forgotten so quickly is another matter.

The Belleville native, who has just two wins and none since Nov. 9, will watch from the bench as Toskala makes his 19th consecutive start tonight when the New Jersey Devils visit.

Will Raycroft have a chance to pick up the pieces in Toronto in 2008-09? It's doubtful. The Leafs owe him $2.2 million next season in the final year of a three-year pact, but they could buy him out, a move that would cost them two-thirds of the contract's average ($2 million) against the cap, spread out over the next two seasons. The cap hit would be less than $700,000 in each of the next two years.

The Leafs could then bring Justin Pogge along at a slow rate under the guidance of Toskala.

"I think it is pretty obvious there is going to be a lot of changes and lot of turmoil through the summer, but to talk like that is pretty premature," Raycroft said. "Whoever is going to be the GM here, if my dad was GM, maybe I would play 82 games next year. Maybe I should just throw my name into the hat for the job and play myself 82 times."

"I have proven I can win in this league. It's just a matter of time before I get a chance to play again."

Said coach Paul Maurice: "Andrew has handled it exceptionally well. He deserves quite a bit of respect for how he has handled it."


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