The Arizona Coyotes have been one of the worst teams in the league since January 1st. There are a lot of reasons for their struggles, but goaltending is not one of them.
Losing Darcy Kuemper to an injury in December hurt this team, but it did not set them back. Admin Hill and Antti Raanta are two very talented goalies capable of handing a workload of a starter. I know Kuemper was on pace to take a Vezina trophy, he was supposed to represent the team at the all-star game.
Kuemper is a great goalie, but if the Coyotes wanted to make the playoffs and succeed they weren’t going to be able to lean on him. This team is so gifted in their own end that they shouldn’t be relying on their goalie to steal games. That has not been the case the last few weeks, as we are no longer the defensive giant we were to start the year.
I am not trying to downplay the role Darcy Kuemper has with this team, rather I am just pointing out that this team can not win relying on a goalie. Rick Tocchet’s system is based on a defense first mentality. If we have to over-rely on our goalies to get things done night in and night out that means we have failed.
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Hopefully, we will see Darcy Kuemper with the team soon. His absence has been rather concerning, especially considering the team has been brushing his injury off as day today. The Coyotes recently put Kuemper on the injury reserved list, but that was reportedly just to clear a roster spot for Brad Richardson according to Craig Morgan of The Athletic.
Considering both Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Jason Demers are also out with injuries we need to hunker down as a group and get a win.