It’s official, the Arizona Coyotes have their starting goaltender for the next three seasons. It was announced today that General Manager John Chayka has re-signed Antti Raanta to a 3 year, $12.75 million deal.
Antti Raanta’s three-year extension with ARI has an AAV of $4.25M.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) April 6, 2018
“We’re extremely pleased to sign Antti to a three-year contract, Chayka said in the team’s official announcement. “When we acquired Antti last summer, we believed that he had the talent and desire to become an elite starting goaltender and he certainly proved that this season. You can’t be successful in this League without an outstanding No. 1 goaltender and now we have that with Antti. I’d also like to thank our owner Andrew Barroway for providing us with the resources to get this very important deal done.”
”I’m thrilled to sign a new contract with the Coyotes,” Raanta said in the same release. “The Coyotes believed in me and gave me an opportunity to prove that I could be a starting goaltender in the NHL. I’m very grateful for this and can’t wait for next season. We have a great young team here and I’m very excited about our future in Arizona.”
At three years Raanta’s contract gives the Coyotes a bit of flexibility they will need moving forward. It’s important to note that Raanta has only played one season as a starter, and it saw him miss a fair amount of time due to injury. Hopefully, Raanta’s play continues next season, but if he struggles the Coyotes don’t have to worry about a giant contract taking up space and money.
It became clear that the Coyotes were in the market for a new starting goaltender when they traded Mike Smith to the Calgary Flames for Chad Johnson, Brandon Hickey, and a conditional third pick in the 2017 Entry Draft on June 14th. The return for Smith wasn’t great, but if Chayka was making the trade to make space for someone new it would be worth it. Chayka didn’t wait long to make his next move, nine days later he acquired Raanta and Derek Stepan from the New York Rangers in exchange for Anthony DeAngelo and the 7th overall pick of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
The inaugural season in Arizona for Antti Raanta had some less then ideal moments. Early on he sustained a lower body injury which sidelined him for 10 games, and considering the Coyotes were off to a historically bad start they really needed him. Throughout the season he had to deal with some very Arizona problems, like getting in a car accident on the 101 and having to deal with a scorpion infestation in his home. Even with those problems though he seemed happy with his time in Arizona, and he seemed ready to re-sign with the team that took a chance on him being a starting goaltender.
Raanta’s play has been key to the success of the Coyotes in the second half of the season. The team in front of him definitely started playing better, which definitely made Raanta’s job a little easier, but it can not be denied that Raanta has been key for the Coyotes success. Raanta’s numbers in the second half of the season have been stellar, and on more then one occasion he has been named one of the NHL Three Stars of the Week. His three shutouts this season have happened since February, and he currently is second in the league in save percentage (.930) and third in goals against average (2.24).