The Carolina Hurricanes announced that goaltender Antti Raanta wouldn’t be returning to Wednesday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers due to precautionary reasons.
Raanta, 34, was the starting goalie for the game, and played the first period before not returning for the second. The specifics of why he’s been held out for the game haven’t been confirmed outside of it being for precautionary reasons, but with the Canes up 4-1 in the game, they could afford to play it safe with him and replace him with Pyotr Kochetkov. Raanta stopped seven of the eight shots he faced in the first period, including all six at even strength.
Raanta has had a solid season so far despite an .885% save percentage, as he also has a 5-2-0 record, a shutout, and 4.03 5v5 goals saved above expected, which is 15th-best in the league.
Raanta’s struggled with health throughout his career, but when he’s played he’s been one of the best goalies in the league, with a 92.68% 5v5 save% that is sixth among goalies with at least 250 games played since he entered the league in 2013-14.
Raanta was an undrafted free agent signing by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013, and made his NHL debut later that season. In his 11-season NHL career, he’s played for the Blackhawks, New York Rangers, Arizona Coyotes, and the Hurricanes.
Raanta is currently on a one-year, $1.5 million contract, and is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the 2024 offseason.
The Canes will have to hope that the reasons for keeping Raanta out aren’t a long-term concern, as their goaltending already has some health uncertainties with Frederik Andersen out indefinitely with a blood clotting issue. While Kochetkov is more than capable of handling the role as a starter if Raanta is out for a while, the bigger issue is the depth beyond him, as they only have Yaniv Perets signed to an NHL contract.
The Hurricanes had a 10-7-0 record heading into Wednesday’s game against the Oilers, and sit in fourth in the Metropolitan Division and hold the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.