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Arizona Coyotes’ Antti Raanta on new contract: ‘I wanted to stay here’

Arizona Coyotes goalie Antti Raanta (32) blocks a shot by Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson (42) in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
LISTEN: Antti Raanta, Coyotes Goalie

Arizona Coyotes goalie Antti Raanta has come a long way since he joined the NHL. When he arrived from Finland in 2013, he didn’t know what a check was.

“When I went to Chicago, they said ‘you got to look for a place to live.’ I went there and they said ‘you have to write a check.’ I was like ‘what is that?'” Raanta told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “When I heard that I was like ‘where do I get those?'”

On April 5, the Coyotes and Raanta, now more in tune with the use of checks, signed a three-year, $12.75 million deal that will keep the Finnish netminder in the desert through the 2020-21 season.

In his first season as a starter, Raanta went 21-17-6 with three shutouts, allowing 2.24 goals per game while stopping 93 percent of shots he faced.

Having given Raanta a chance to be the No. 1 goaltender coupled with a strong finish to the season, Arizona was able to get him under contract without him testing free agency.

“I felt that in Arizona we have something good going on. I want to be a part of the upcoming group. I want to be the guy who can make the difference and be a big part of that leadership group,” Raanta told Doug & Wolf. “With all the coaching staff and owners and everybody else, they wanted for me to stay here, and I was having the same thoughts all the time … I’m super happy they wanted to keep me.”

Coming into the year, Raanta spent the bulk of his first four seasons as a backup with the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers. But a draft-day trade sent the 28-year-old from New York to Arizona, and with that came a chance to start.

“There was always that feeling that I want to play more and get that opportunity and show everyone I’m the number one guy,” Raanta told Doug & Wolf. “They gave it to me, and I’m super happy that they gave me the chance.”

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