Arizona Coyotes starting goalie Antti Raanta out indefinitely

Dec 9, 2018, 5:22 PM | Updated: Dec 10, 2018, 4:26 pm
Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta (32) makes a save on a shot by Calgary Flames center Elias ...
Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta (32) makes a save on a shot by Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm (28) as Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23) defends during the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. The Flames defeated the Coyotes 6-1. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Coyotes announced Sunday starting goaltender Antti Raanta would be out “indefinitely,” just days after he was placed on injured reserve Friday with a lower-body injury and listed as “week-to-week.”

He was previously day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

“We just got some additional imaging, took another look at some things, he underwent a procedure to fix his lower-body injury and when they got in there it was a little more extensive than they first anticipated,” general manager John Chayka said. “The good news is that it was a great repair.”

Chayka added that the long-term outlook looks good and it’s possible that Raanta would return this season, though there’s also a “good chance he misses the entire season.”

On Monday, 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station‘s John Gambadoro learned that Raanta’s injury is to his knee and that the belief is he will miss the entire season.

Raanta hasn’t played since exiting early from the Coyotes’ game in Minnesota on Nov. 27. It was in that game that rookie Adin Hill entered the game and has played all of the goaltending minutes since then.

Chayka said Sunday that backup Darcy Kuemper was back to good health and was nearing return “in the short term.” The team also has Calvin Pickard on its roster, who Arizona claimed off waivers and has not yet played in a game with the Coyotes. Pickard has served as the backup to Hill with the two top goalies on the depth chart out with injury.

Before the Minnesota game, Raanta had played against Calgary on Nov. 25 and Colorado on Nov. 23. Before that, he had missed eight consecutive games from Nov. 8 to Nov. 21. He also missed time on multiple occasions last year because of injury, appearing in only 47 games in his first season as a starter in the NHL.

The periods of missed time have caused some to offer concerns about Raanta’s durability.

“Yeah, I mean look, I understand he’s had a few injuries since coming here,” Chayka said. “Again, previous to that, relatively few. Even when he was playing over in Europe, playing heavy minutes and facing a lot of shots. I think this particular injury’s a bit of a fluke injury in the sense of how it occurred during the game, a bit of a weird scenario. Then obviously it’s a structural issue.

“You try to understand what you can control and what can’t you control in injuries. I think certainly this one’s unrelated to his previous injuries, and like I said the nature of it is structural. So I think when we talk about players’ ability to stay healthy, there’s just certain things that come into play in pro sports, and some things are unavoidable.”

Raanta has a .906 save percentage in 12 games played this year. The Coyotes as a team had played 28 games as of Sunday.

“We’ve got to get him healthy. It’s been an ongoing thing with Antti right now,” head coach Rick Tocchet told Burns & Gambo on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Friday. “We’ve got to get him healthy in there playing four or five games in a row. He’s the backbone of our team, he helps our team out.”

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