The Arizona Coyotes goaltending situation has drastically changed. They lost all three of their goalies during the offseason. Many fans may be wondering what will happen in between the posts this upcoming season.
That’s a reasonable concern. Darcy Kuemper, the pegged starter was traded to the Colorado Avalanche. Former backup netminder Antti Raanta was an unrestricted free agent and signed with the Carolina Hurricanes. Backup Adin Hill was traded to the San Jose Sharks for goalie Josef Korenar. The Coyotes added a seventh-round 2022 pick and the Sharks sent a 2022 second-rounder to Arizona.
Goaltending Situation For Arizona Coyotes is Puzzling
We all know that the Arizona Coyotes are deep into a rebuild engineered by general manager Bill Armstrong. He is methodically progressing in the direction of building the club’s draft assets in hopes of adding a franchise-changing player in the draft. To say he (like many others) are salivating at the possibility of adding a talent like Shane Wright, goes without saying.
Trading Kuemper pretty much gave everyone watching the impression that the Coyotes were blowing it up short-term in hopes of a better future. Adin Hill seemed to be the next starting goalie if Kuemper left. Yet, Armstrong chose to acquire Korenar and only added Carter Hutton as an unrestricted free agent signing.
Evaluating Carter Hutton and Josef Korenar
GM Armstrong may be familiar with Hutton, who played 67 games with the St. Louis Blues over the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. But, is he going to bring adequate goaltending to the Arizona Coyotes? He has a 94-88-27 career record with a .909 save percentage and a 2.71 goals-against-average.
His last three seasons while a member of the Buffalo Sabres can be described as mediocre at best. He accumulated a 31-49-10 record. His save percentage was a less than inspiring .902. His goals-against-average of 3.12 is nothing to get excited about either. Yet, Armstrong must see something in him to acquire him even though he will be 36 in December.
The issue is Armstrong has not pegged Hutton as his starter, more of a backup. A backup to whom? Korenar? Unlikely, as Korenar 23, has only participated in 10 NHL games.
The Plan For Who’s in Net, Hasn’t Been Disclosed
Armstrong was quizzed about what his plans may be in net. He only mentioned that he may add a veteran goalie. At the moment, there are few choices. With just Devan Dubnyk, Marcus Hogberg, Henrik Lundqvist, Curtis McElhinney, Tuukka Rask, and Cory Schneider available, the pickings are slim.
It’s still a mystery who Armstrong may hire to be his starting goalie and time is wasting. The new season begins on October 14th. While Korenar may have some upside as a backup down the road, he’s not ready to be a starting NHL goalie. The team may give AHL goalie Ivan Prosvetov a look during the season.
The 2021-22 Arizona Coyotes Goaltending Issues
Let’s face it, if you are a goalie on a rebuilding team, you are apt to face a ton of rubber heading your way. The Coyotes just about revamped their entire blueline losing Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Jordan Oesterle, Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers, and Niklas Hjalmarsson to trades, restricted free agency, or retirement.
Newcomers include Shayne Gostisbehere, Anton Stralman, Conor Timmins, and Vladislav Kolyachonok. Kolyachonok will start out in the AHL with the Tucson Roadrunners. The Desert Dogs will more than likely give Kyle Capobianco a look since they protected him in the expansion draft.
That may not be the best blueline around, but don’t forget they still have budding star defenceman Jakob Chychrun. Still, it will be difficult to replace the likes of Kuemper and Raanta when they were healthy to protect the net.
Goaltending, Defence, and Offence Need Upgrading
You can bet that GM Armstrong knows what his team’s weaknesses are and will attempt to address them with his plethora of draft picks. We’ll see if he drafts a goalie who could be a future starter in net. He could also seek a goalie he needs now via a trade. It has been rumoured that forward Christian Dvorak may be headed out of the desert. While draft picks are an attractive asset to obtain, perhaps Armstrong should seek a goalie in a potential Dvorak trade.
The offence has been needing upgrading for some time now. Being patient for forwards like Clayton Keller, Lawson Crouse, Nick Schmaltz, and Christian Fischer to finally break out with some firepower on offence is long overdue.
This team will take some time to gel and get accustomed to each other. With so many new faces, it will take time. The difficult thing will be that many of the new faces will not be around after this season. That only causes more adjustment and possible confusion.
Goaltending is a vital position. Armstrong gutted it and now must determine what to do to replace it. Sure, he’s only out $1.5 million for both Hutton and Korenar, but like anything else you get what you pay for. It will be interesting to see what Armstrong’s goalie strategy is… not sure what he’s waiting for to be honest.