In an interview with 98.7 Arizona Sports (audio link), Coyotes GM John Chayka provided an update on goaltender Antti Raanta’s situation. While the team had acknowledged there was a possibility that he could return this season, Chayka indicated that this scenario doesn’t appear to be likely now:
“It’s probably more hopeful than realistic that he’s back at some point this year. So, he’s probably going to miss the rest of the year. He had a repair done, the repair was very well done. His long-term health is probably even better than what it could be if you tried to take a shortcut. Unfortunately that means for this year you’re losing your starting goalie.”
That means that Arizona will be looking to Darcy Kuemper and Adin Hill to shoulder the load (with Calvin Pickard available as well). Neither goalie has much in the way of experience of being a starter in the NHL but Chayka stated earlier this month that the Coyotes don’t plan to look to the trade market for help between the pipes.
More from the Pacific:
- Kings winger Ilya Kovalchuk has recovered quicker than expected and is expected to play on Saturday against San Jose, notes Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider. The veteran was supposed to miss four weeks after undergoing a bursectomy on December 2nd but instead, he’ll be back after just three weeks. Los Angeles doesn’t need to make a corresponding roster move after they sent down three players on Wednesday. Kovalchuk got off to a good start to his season but tailed off in the weeks leading up to his procedure.
- While the Oilers will be without defenseman Kris Russell for their next game on Saturday, the team announced (Twitter link) that there’s a good chance that he’ll be available for their first game after the holiday break. He’s dealing with an undisclosed injury and Saturday will be the fourth straight game he sits out. Meanwhile, although Adam Larsson didn’t skate with the team on Thursday after blocking a shot with his foot last game, he is expected to suit up on the weekend. With Edmonton already without Oscar Klefbom and Andrej Sekera, they can ill afford to lose another of their core defenders.