While the battle between Gerald Coleman
and Jonathan Boutin
in jockeying for position for the title of "goaltender of the future" continues to rage on, [url=http://www.sm-liiga.fi/tulospalvelu.asp?palvelu=2&raportti=29685]Karri Ramo
may very well be winning the war.[/url]
Today Ramo once again stood on his head to carry his attrocious Pelicans SM-liiga team to a shutout 2-0 victory over Tappara in which he stopped 42 of 42 shots. That's impressive. Especially when you consider the woeful band of players in front of him were outshot 42-18.
Ramo now has a .919 save percentage and a 3.23 GAA in the SM-liiga, against full grown men, on a team which sits dead last on the SM-liiga table. His statistical dominance becomes even more interesting when you begin to take a look at what he's accomplished at the Junior A level for the Pelicans this season.
Fist off, let me preface this on bringing you up to speed on a young man named Tuukka Rask. Rask is a young 2005 draft elligible goaltender who splits time between his SM-liiga and Jr A teams much like Ramo does. [url=http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/columnist/woodlief/2004-12-22-red-line-report_x.htm] He is also ranked by Redline report as the 5th best player available in this year's draft[/url] Not since Karri Lehtonen has a Finnish goaltender gotten this much run by the North American media.[url=http://www.sm-liiga.fi/finhockey2/sjl_tulospalvelu_stat.asp?TID=1344&tilasto=mv&rajaus=41]Amongst all SM-liiga starters Rask is 1st with a .936 save percentage.[/url] Right behind him with a very comparable .935 save percentage is our Mr. Karri Ramo.
Which leads me to an interesting question. There's only eight months in age difference between the elder Ramo and younger Rask. Could it be the Lightning stole a 1st or 2nd round caliber goaltender right out from under the scouting world's nose? At the very least, it looks certain that the Lightning selected a player with a lot more real value than the 6th round, 191st pick overall we used to get him.
I'd also like to point out that while Rask plays on the 4th best team in Finnish Jr A, Ramo's Pelicans are only 9th, which make his statistics all the more amazing.