It was summer of 2017, when the Arizona Coyotes finally decided to shake up things a little bit and so they traded number one goaltender Mike Smith, who led them to 2012 Western Conference finals, and went a little bit younger, with trading for Antti Raanta.
His later signing was not the same as Scott Darling´s one. He was good enough not to just stay as a back-up goalie in his current team, so a needy team like the Coyotes gave him that opportunity to be the starter. Raanta has been solid and in terms of goaltending, John Chayka, GM of the Coyotes, is not regretting making him a number one goaltender.
In his first year in the desert, Raanta played just 47 games, while missing several weeks with many injuries. Raanta has posted a .093 save percentage and allowed just 2,24 goals against per game. That was good enough to convince Arizona to extend his contract until 2021 and paying Raanta $4,250,000 per season.
His first year was good, but Raanta and his whole team showed up when it mattered the least, at the end of the year, when the Coyotes were playing just for the pride. Well, Raanta was playing for a bigger contract and he got it.
Goaltending situation in Arizona: not solved at all
What about his first year since the new contract? Raanta recently underwent a procedure on lower-body injury that revealed more damage than originally thought. So just after playing 12 games this season, he might be done for the remainder of the campaign.
And that is not ideal, not at all. The Coyotes have picked up Calvin Pickard off the waiver list, as they have their former back-up netminder Darcy Kuemper injured as well. Good news for the Yotes is that Kuemper should be back really soon and Adin Hill has been terrific so far, althought Arizona lost last two games with giving up 9 goals against in total.
It may not be that much important to try to solve current goaltending situation of the Coyotes. Let´s look at the overall overview. Being Arizona, you traded away Mike Smith in order to change the momentum for him and for yourself as well, signed Raanta in search of a stable number one goaltender and he is going to play just 59 games throughout his first two years? I will repeat myself, but that is not ideal!
Surely it seems like the goaltending woes have not been solved yet. When Raanta comes back for next season, he will already be 30 years old. I will speculate now, but if gets injured once again after his return, Arizona may hit the panic button (nothing to do with their forward Richard Panik) and redo that 2017 summer all over again.