Antti Raanta‘s first season with the Arizona Coyotes was a big reason the team ended on such a high, and his performances deserved more consideration in Vezina Trophy voting.
For many teams in hockey, they will go as far as their starting goaltender will take them and that truly was the case for the Arizona Coyotes last season.
Raanta’s stellar performances helped the team end the season in a far more positive way than how they started.
Raanta played in 47 regular season games for the Coyotes, the highest single-season record in his career to date.
The team had a record of 21 wins, 17 losses and six overtime/shootout losses, good for 48 points out of the 70 total points the team earned last season.
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While this record isn’t spectacular, the team was one of the worst in the league last year and Raanta’s underlying numbers suggest that things may have been significantly worse had he not been between the pipes.
The 6-foot, 194lbs Finn had a .930 save percentage last season, good for second in the league among goalies that played 20 games or more – behind St. Louis’ Carter Hutton.
He had three shutouts and a goal against average of 2.24.
He started 46 games for the team last season, with 32 of them considered ‘quality starts’ – giving Raanta a Quality Starts Percentage of .696.
League average for QS% is .530, with .600 considered a very good number, with Raanta sitting well above that number.
Raanta also saved a phenomenal 24.82 goals above average for the number of shots he faced in 2017/18 – playing a hugely significant role for the Coyotes.
He contributed a goalie points share of 10.4, a good number for the starting goalie that didn’t play over 50 games.
Raanta’s importance to the team can’t be overstated and it is a big surprise that he did not receive a single vote for the Vezina Trophy last season – most likely due to the Coyotes’ overall performances.
By comparison, Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen finished fourth in Vezina voting but did not put up the numbers that Raanta did.
Andersen did start more games than Raanta, with 66 games under his belt last season, but he had a lower quality starts percentage (.561), a higher goals-against average (2.81) and half the goals saved above average compared to Raanta (12.06).
Andersen did contribute 13.6 points, but in almost 20 more starts compared to the Coyotes’ goalie.
If Raanta can maintain a similar pace this season, and if the Arizona Coyotes are able to perform at a higher level, then he should be a serious candidate for Vezina voting this time around.
What do you think Coyotes fans? Should Raanta have been given more consideration for the Vezina? Will he maintain his performances this season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!