Behind any good team in the National Hockey League, there is always a strong goaltending duo who is acting as the last line of defense. One goaltender is good, but two solid goaltenders is a sign of success to come. Will the Arizona Coyotes find this in Raanta and Kuemper?
As we continue to go down the roster and preview what is to come in the 2018-19 season for the Arizona Coyotes, we finally arrive at one of the most important areas of the game of hockey — with the goaltenders.
Following a season where there seemed to be plenty of goalie movement due to injuries, the Coyotes will be hoping that Raanta and Kuemper will be able to remain healthy — as the two were able to pull together a combined record of 33-24-11 (.579 winning percentage) last season with the Coyotes.
With two similar records last season, both Raanta and Kuemper could have the ability to start the season as the starting goaltender. However, at this current state of time, it appears as if all signs are pointing towards Raanta to start the season as the Coyotes starting goaltender.
Although Raanta will more than likely grab the starting role over Kuemper, it is easy to imagine that Coyotes head coach Rich Tochett will use their talents equally, lifting some pressure off of Raanta and allowing Kuemper to continue to prove his worth as the season rolls along.
Areas of concern
As with any team in the NHL today, a large concern facing any goaltender during the long 82-game regular season is their ability to remain healthy.
For the Coyotes to be successful this continues to ring true, as they will have to hope that these two goaltenders will be able to remain healthy during the stretch of the season — and this will have a lot to do with the Coyotes defense for the upcoming season.
Why they will be successful
If there was any single goaltender who could lead the way for the Coyotes to return to the postseason, it might as well be Raanta.
Standing on his head on more than one occasion last season to secure wins against some tough opponents has practically sealed the starting role for him this upcoming season. However, it will be interesting to see how the Coyotes defense will help him out as the team continues to get accustomed to Tocchet’s fast-paced transitioning system.
Darcy Kuemper provides a solid backup role that will help alleviate some of the pressure from Raanta’s shoulders and will be able to come up with large games when Tocchet requires him to do so. During his time with the Minnesota Wild, Kuemper was able to provide this same stability to assist the Wild to reach the playoffs in his first three seasons.
Kuemper was also able to provide this same service with the Los Angeles Kings by holding a 10-1-3 record before being traded to the Arizona Coyotes last season.