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Antti Raanta signs 3-year, $12.75 million extension with Coyotes

The Coyotes have locked up goaltender Antti Raanta on a three-year contract extension with a $4.25 million annual cap hit, according to TSN. The deal, which solidifies Raanta as the Coyotes’ starting netminder entering next season, was first reported Thursday night by 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Raanta, a former backup goaltender with the Blackhawks, had been set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He would’ve been popular on the open market after posting a .930 save percentage in 46 appearances with the Coyotes this season.

Instead, the 28-year-old will return to Arizona on a deal that clearly pegs him as the starter. It’s a significant raise from $1 million salary he received this season, which was part of a two-year, $2 million contract that the goalie originally signed with the Rangers in 2016.

Raanta began his NHL career with the Blackhawks in 2013 and won a Stanley Cup with the team in 2015. He was traded to the Rangers following the championship three years ago and posted two strong seasons as a backup to Henrik Lundqvist.

Ex-Blackhawks goalie Antti Raanta won't be leaving Arizona this summer. | Rick Scuteri/AP Photo

That performance compelled the Coyotes to give up their 2017 first-round pick to acquire Raanta and Derek Stepan last summer in an effort to make improvement this season. It didn’t work at first as Arizona sunk to the bottom of the standings, but the team has quietly put together a 17-8-3 record since early February. Strong goaltending has been a big part of that.

Raanta is the second recent ex-Hawks backup goalie to receive a sizable contract to be another team’s starter. Scott Darling signed a three-year, $12.45 million deal with the Hurricanes last summer. Darling has had a disastrous first year in Carolina by posting a .888 save percentage in 43 appearances.