You’ll have to pardon Darcy Kuemper if “home” is some kind of far-flung fantasy of a word when it comes to his professional life. He has played for three NHL teams in his career, which started in Minnesota in 2012-13, which…actually isn’t too many for a career that is nearly 10 years old by now.
In his nine NHL seasons, Kuemper played parts of five seasons in Minnesota and parts of four others in Arizona. Sandwiched in the middle was a 19-game stint with the Los Angeles Kings in 2018 – which resulted in a 10-1-2 record and .932 saves percentage. That’s essentially where Kuemper’s career turned around. Yeah, there were some good times in Minnesota (including a Game 7 of the 2014 playoffs against the Colorado Avalanche, which resulted in a Wild win). But when Kuemper got to L.A., he had been conditioned to believe that maybe he would never be anything more than backup material.
Today, he is the 31-year-old man who has been handed the keys to the starting job with the Avs, although essentially on a one-year lease to prove he can occupy the space beyond that.