Perhaps one of the more surprising signings this summer was announced yesterday, with Dallas acquiring Finnish netminder Jussi Rynnas on a two year-one way contract.
A two way or AHL contract may have made more sense but Dallas have injury concerns over Lehtonen, wanted competition for the number two slot with Lindback, Campbell has struggled to put a whole season together in the AHL due to injury and Nilstorp now gone.
I see their logic but Rynnas is a gamble and far from a certainty to challenge hard for an NHL position.
He’s the archetypal type of goaltender teams seem to be looking for these days, at 6’5” and around 215 pounds, he’s an imposing figure in the net.
After spending his youth in Finland with Assat Pori, Rynnas signed with Toronto in 2010.
His time with the Marlies was a harder battle than most face as he regularly faced competition from not one but two or more goaltenders and in his rookie season he had to battle with Reimer and Scrivens.
His first three starts were rocky but November of 2010 brought success with a 5-2-0-2 record and impressive stats (1.33GAA/.957SV%).
That’d be as good as it got for Rynnas in his first season as those wins represented half his total for the season ending with a 10-15 record.
I would describe Rynnas as a streaky goaltender, and this would be no better encapsulated than in 2011/12. At his best he recorded a pair of shutouts in consecutive games, book-ended by two starts where he allowed just a solitary goal in each. Once more he had to battle Scrivens and added into the mix was young Mark Owuya, which meant Rynnas ended with an 11-9 record.
The beginning of the end was early in the 2012/13 season for Rynnas as the lockout meant the same competition remained in place and he earned just seven starts. To be fair to Jussi he was outstanding in those seven games as he posted three shutouts and five wins.
With the NHL back to work and Scrivens up with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Rynnas was given more opportunities but his level of play diminished, recording a single win in six starts.
With Reimer then an injury doubt, the Finnish net minder was called up to the Leafs as cover, and in the mean time Toronto signed Drew MacIntyre to a PTO. An injury back with the Marlies on the road in Milwaukee would curtail Rynnas in that game and it would be the last time he’d dress for the blue and white before signing back in Finland
By all account, Rynnas worked his socks of during last summer and had a very impressive 2013/14 season with Karpat.
He led all Liiga goaltenders with a 1.51 goals against average and a .939 save percentage, while he finished second in the league with nine shutouts and third with 28 wins.
An injury curtailed his post-season play and lost his place when back to fitness.
In a way that’s the most frustrating part of having watched Rynnas play, he’s incredibly hot or cold but when he’s on his game he’s very good indeed but he’s developed this habit of getting an injury when in the midst of one of his good spells.
His record in the AHL doesn’t make for exceptional reading at 31-33-5, 2.64 GAA and .910 SV%, and he never really looked at ease in the NHL to my eye, but he was backstopping the Leafs! (Spoken as a Leafs fan).
I wish he and Dallas all the best in this venture but I cannot see anything other than Rynnas being sent down barring injuries above him and then come the issues (if he isn’t claimed off waivers) with wanting the up and coming Jack Campbell to be the AHL starter.