It’s been a good news bad news week for the Coyotes. On Monday they traded for Taylor Hall. On Thursday the bad news hit when starting goaltender and Vezina trophy favorite Darcy Kuemper left the game in the third period with an injury on what looked like an easy save. The Coyotes announced Friday that Kuemper is out week to week with a lower body injury and recalled Adin Hill from Tucson to become the new backup. How do the Coyotes continue their winning ways without their MVP? They will turn to Antti Raanta to become the number one goalie he was expected to be when he was acquired from New York.
In tandem with Kuemper the Finnish goalie has the Coyotes fourth in goals against per game in the league. For most people losing your starting goaltender might mean their season is over however Raanta has still put up great numbers this season. Raanta has played in 13 games this season and still ranks in the top 20 of goaltenders who have played more than 600 minutes this season. Raanta has played in 35 percent of the Coyotes games this season so Raanta has put up that .917 save percentage and 2.72 GAA in a sort of irregular playing schedule. Imagine what Raanta can do with more regular time to develop a rhythm.
Lucky for Raanta he will be getting help in front of him too with defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson who has missed most of the season with a knee injury is due back just after the start of the new year which will provide a massive boost to a Coyotes defense that has struggled a little bit of late after another top-four player in Jason Demers went down with an injury.
With Raanta in net the Coyotes are still in good hands and if the prognosis holds for Kuemper he will be back in time for the Coyotes postseason push. As of right now the Coyotes are tied for first place in the Pacific division with 44 points.
Here is what Coach Tocchet and defenseman Jakob Chychrun said about Kuemper’s injury after the game on Thursday