It’s been a bumpy start to Antti Raanta’s tenure in Arizona. The performance of the former New York Rangers backup hasn’t been bad, but after missing the season opener and failing to pick up a win in his three starts since, Raanta is sidelined once again. The new Coyotes starter did not return to last night’s game against the Detroit Red Wings after the first period and after the game, coach Rick Tocchet told AZ Central’s Sarah McLellan that Raanta was not struggling with the same issues that plagued him in the preseason and kept him out of Game 1, but instead has suffered a new injury.
In response, the Coyotes today have made an emergency recall of Marek Langhamer from the AHL’s Tuscon Roadrunners. Arizona has to be ready to host the Boston Bruins tomorrow night and it seems that time table was too soon for Raanta. Louis Domingue is expected to start, as he did the season opening 5-4 loss, with Langhamer as the backup. Raanta’s absence is indefinite as of now, so the Coyotes will have to roll with that duo for the time being. Domingue, who struggled most of last season and has been worse in a small sample size thus far in 2017-18, and Langhamer, who has just 16 minutes of NHL experience, do not make the most threatening duo.
Meanwhile, the team also demoted forward Emerson Etem as they continue to look for the right mix on the roster. If Raanta is in net and performing to his potential, the Coyotes have more wiggle room in their pace of play. However, Raanta has either been absent or dealing with lingering injuries so far and nine goals in four games is not going to cut it while Raanta remains off the ice or off his game. Arizona needs more from a revamped defense that has combined for one goal and six points thus far and needs to find secondary scoring up front beyond Max Domi and rookie Clayton Keller. If the ’Yotes can’t pick up their scoring, the current goaltending woes could extend their winless streak further and further into the new season.