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Avalanche To Face Darcy Kuemper; How Is He Doing In Washington?

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Darcy Kuemper

The answer to the above question is pretty much like it always seemed like it was in Colorado in his one year here: Some good games, some bad games. Darcy Kuemper remains hard to define as a goalie.

Look, Avalanche fans should always give Darcy Kuemper warm thoughts. He won the Stanley Cup as the No. 1 goalie. He’s got his name chiseled on the Cup forever and ever and ever. It can’t be taken away. But, so far at least, the Avalanche have not looked foolish in the decision not to sign him to a long-term extension.

His record, coming into Saturday’s game with the Avalanche, is 5-8-1. His saves percentage of .911 is below his final number of .921 last season. His goals-against average of 2.73 is above last year’s 2.54.

Avalanche management is feeling good about its goaltending duo right now, of Alexandar Georgiev and Pavel Francouz. The Capitals are paying Darcy Kuemper $6 million per for the first of five years, at least that’s what the contract says they must do.

Capitals fans haven’t seemed to warm up much to Kuemper yet. He was pulled early in a game last week against Tampa Bay in which he allowed four goals on the first nine shots. There were plenty of not-so-nice comments about him on Capitals fan message boards. He stopped 38-of-42 shots in his next game, though, a loss to Florida.

With the Avalanche, there was that same kind of good-one-night, bad-the-next-night aspect to his game. But, to his credit at least, he showed up in the biggest of games and, if he didn’t stand on his head too often, he at least got the job done. That’s the bottom line with Darcy Kuemper, in his one year with the Colorado Avalanche.

He had kind of a mercenary year. He was a hired gun, to get a job done. He got it done. No, he didn’t paint many Mona Lisas here. But he got the job done. Sometimes, all you need to do paint is by the numbers. That is art too, right?

The problem, as I see it with Washington: He’s an aging guy playing on an aging team. He doesn’t have the kind of defense playing in front of him like he did with the Avalanche. I don’t like the odds of things working out great between him and the Caps in the long-term.

Superstreak Bonus!

That said, maybe he goes out Saturday night and pitches a shutout on the Avalanche. He is just unpredictable enough to do something like that. Against a short-handed Avalanche team that was damn lucky to win the other night in Carolina, he will theoretically have an easier time against this Avalanche team than had it been healthier.

Kuemper actually started the season pretty well for Washington, compiling a 4-3-1 record, .922 saves percentage and 2.39 GAA. Things have not gone as well since.

The thing that drove Avalanche fans slightly crazy in Kuemper’s one year here was his tendency to give up some soft goal in weird times. Like, Game 5 against St. Louis, second round of playoffs, at home, a 3-0 lead – then the game – squandered. Tyler Bozak beat Kuemper on a long shot from the point to win that game in overtime, after Kuemper allowed a rebound goal with about a minute left that tied the game 4-4 – not long after Nathan MacKinnon scored one fo the greatest playoff goals in Avalanche history to give his team a 4-3 lead with about two minutes left.

Sometimes, it just seemed like the Avalanche had to win in spite of Kuemper. That said, he won the Cup.

No one can take it away from him.

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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GrizzlyO

Color by numbers — great description, only Dater writes like that. I had to scroll up to make sure, but why?

GWood

All true, great analysis AD. Glad we moved on and picked up G, love his game so far.

Hoppyhacker

Feels like he was gifted a cup, and after wasting one of the best individual playoff performances (Mac) since Forsberg’s 4 point game in 96

Aaron Rud

Yeah, that Game 5 will always irritate me.

dp10

In retrospect, I actually believe that game (or the reaction to it specifically) is was what galvanized the team and finally put them over the hump.

Justin Houde

He contributed to make me feel so happy last when my team won the cup. I’ll feel grateful to him forever. He did make a pretty nice save against Kucherov in the third period of Game 6. And that was it. So YES, no one can take it away from him. He also seems to be such a team player, such a good guy, I wish him the best. But, yeah, should the Avs had not won the cup, I would have been also mad at him forever. For that goal (that gift) he gave to Jan Rutta in Game… Read more »

dp10

I feel conflicted about Kuemper frankly. We gave up a lot for a 1 year rental, Timmins and 2 high draft picks!! We won the cup for the first time in 20 years, but was Kuemper really crucial? I’d like to think he was more crucial than we have given him credit for.

As for not giving him a new contract, I think that’s actually a mute point simply because we were never going to be able to offer him the pay raise he got.

Lew Barr

While I appreciate that Kemper helped the Avs win the cup, whenever anyone fired a hard shot from the point, I always held my breath. I don’t feel that way about Frankie or Georgiev.

onthefly

Last season, I felt like the Avs were stuck with 2 backup goalies with Kuemper and Francouz. But the team was so great, they would have won with any goalies, in my humble opinion.

Ted Grycel

Bottom line, he played good enough to stop more goals then he let in and the Avs won the cup because of him, and Frankie as well for that matter. Whatever they traded for him was worth it, would you trade Timmins and 2 high draft picks if you were guaranteed the Stanley Cup? I would in a heart beat !

Jeremy Barton

I was never really a fan of him for reasons already stated and yes, he did get his name on the cup but we all know it was because of the team in front of him and not necessarily HIS performance. A serviceable goalie at best but I wish him luck in DC.

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