Coyotes GM Chayka confident G Antti Raanta will get over injury-bug

Nov 28, 2018, 10:19 AM | Updated: Nov 29, 2018, 9:41 am

Arizona Coyotes' Jordan Oesterle, center, trips between Minnesota Wild's Mikael Granlund, left, of ...

Arizona Coyotes' Jordan Oesterle, center, trips between Minnesota Wild's Mikael Granlund, left, of Finland and Coyotes goalie Antti Raanta, also of Finland, duirng the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Coyotes general manager John Chayka believes starting goalie Antti Raanta will eventually see the light at the end of an injury-plagued tunnel.

But in the present, Arizona has concerns over which of its goalies is healthy enough to play.

Raanta has appeared in 12 of the team’s 23 games so far this season due to a lower-body injury that kept him out for most of November. He returned three outings ago but allowed 14 goals before exiting mid-game Tuesday in a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild.

It was another lower-body injury, and it begs the question of whether the goalie, who signed a three-year extension in April, can be counted on.

“I think that position is very demanding, very difficult,” Chayka told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “If you look across the league, across the years and some of the top goalies, they have run across injury issues. I think really the key is to make progress with the injury issues. I think to take a guy who has some injury issues and to just get through the woods and all of a sudden you’re clear and he’s never going to get injured again, I think that’s usually, typically how it works.

“That’s really our focus with Antti. I’m confident we’ll get there. It’ll just take some time.”

Chayka said Raanta’s latest lower-body injury isn’t a recurrence of what kept the goalie out from Nov. 2-23.

“Everything is connected one way or another. It wasn’t directly related — I should say it wasn’t the exact injury, but there probably were relationships to it,” the GM said.

Now it’s a matter of who’s healthy to replace Raanta.

Twenty-two-year-old Adin Hill stepped in for Raanta on Tuesday, making five saves in the final 20 minutes of the game. Hill was forced into action as backup Darcy Kuemper was placed in injured reserve earlier in the day with a lower-body injury, a move that forced the Coyotes to call up 23-year-old Hunter Miska as precaution.

Hill and Miska have a combined seven games of NHL experience between them.

As of Wednesday, who starts in goal for Arizona on Thursday in a visit to the Nashville Predators is in question.

“We’ll see who’s healthy and we’ll go from there,” Chayka said.


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