When the 2019-20 season began, the Arizona Coyotes were excited to have two very qualified goalies on their roster. Both Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta were vying for the starting role which only increased the competition for a position with the team.
Arizona Coyotes Goalies Status
In the end, Kuemper won out for the starting role, but having Raanta back was supposed to be a huge plus for the team’s success. Unfortunately, both goalies experienced some injury issues which depleted the ability to have a stable netminder in between the pipes.
Raanta suffered a lower-body injury which only allowed him to participate in 12 games in 2018-19. That left the bulk of the games (55) falling on Kuemper’s shoulders with others like Adin Hill filling in when needed. Then, it was Kuemper who fell to injury this 2019-20 season where he missed two months of play due to another lower-body injury. In the end, Raanta ended up appearing in more games (33) than Kuemper’s 29.
The injury to Kuemper was especially regrettable since it was that 8-5 loss to the Minnesota Wild. Kuemper was getting bombed and why head coach Rick Tocchet left him in the game is a real head-scratcher.
So, injuries have pretty much disabled the very vital position of goalie for the Desert Dogs. Well made plans to have a goalie 1 and goalie 1A went astray. What really hurt was the timing of Kuemper’s injury. The team had just acquired Taylor Hall and things were looking promising for them to finally make the playoffs.
Injuries happen to every NHL team yet this team has been hit by long-term injuries over the last two seasons which have disabled them. The Raanta situation is both frustrating and puzzling. Was he not getting into shape in training camp? Did he come to training camp out of shape? Many factors can involve why a player continues to sustain debilitating injuries.
Darcy Kuemper Stats
Kuemper is in his ninth year in the NHL and for his career, he has collected a 96-72-29 record. He has a .918 save percentage and a 2.46 goals-against-average. He also has 18 shutouts. During this 2019-20 season, he was 16-11-2 with a .928 save percentage and 2.12 goals-against average. He also had two shutouts.
In his time in Arizona Kuemper has a 45-37-12 record. His .923 save percentage displays his ability to dominate the net. His 2.36 goals-against-average is very respectable. His eight shutouts show he can shut an opposing team down.
There’s no conjecture that Kuemper should be the goalie the Arizona Coyotes want to go with for most of a season barring injuries. He was the only Arizona player selected for the All-Star game, but due to his injury, he was unable to participate.
Going forward it seems that the starting role in the net is Kuemper’s to lose. He has performed admirably and carried the team on his back during the 2018-19 season after Raanta’s season-ending injury. He was awarded a two-year $9 million contract in October 2019.
Darcy Kuemper is the Coyotes starter in goal. Now, if he stays healthy the Coyotes should have a goalie going forward to finally get them to the playoffs.
Antti Raanta Stats
When you study Raanta’s career of seven years as an NHL goalie you wonder why he isn’t a starter. He has accumulated an 88-60-18 record with a .924 save percentage and a 2.47 goals-against-average. One thing that is impressive is he has 13 career shutouts. That means he can shut down an opposing team just as well if not better than Kuemper.
His time in Arizona has shown a 41-37-9 record with a .924 save percentage. His 2.47 goals-against-average is admirable. He’s only had two shutouts in the desert.
Of course, what makes him unreliable is his injury record. He just can’t seem to stay healthy and it’s too bad. If he can be there night in and night out as the team expects, he can really contribute.
At this point, the Coyotes would be tempted to see what they can get for Raanta on the trade market. Lots of teams are always looking for a backup goalie and as mentioned he has the ability to be a starter for some team. Whether that is in Arizona or not is debatable. He signed a three-year $12.75 million contract in April of 2018. He will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2020-21 season.
So, the question arises… keep him or trade him?
In an ideal world (what’s that?) the team would have two very reliable goalies who can dominate and take the team to the postseason. For that to happen, they must both stay healthy. They both have the skills to do a terrific job in net.
It comes down to whether Raanta can get and stay healthy and provide the team with a backup who’s there in times of need. If he can’t do that the other option the team has is Adin Hill. He is starting to show that he can be a very capable backup to Kuemper. He will be a restricted free agent after the 2020-21 season, so some decisions need to be made.
If one was to play general manager for a day, it seems that Raanta’s time here has expired. It’s too bad that he gets injured constantly, but with Kuemper and Hill, the team going forward the Arizona Coyotes goalie situation should be set.
Let us know what you think about the situation with the Arizona Coyotes goalies.