Darcy Kuemper
Washington Capitals Lars Eller crashes the net vs Colorado - Brian Murphy - All-Pro Reels-4 (51635077482) (cropped).jpg
Kuemper with the Colorado Avalanche in 2021
Born (1990-05-05) May 5, 1990 (age 32)
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Height 6 ft 5 in (196 cm)
Weight 215 lb (98 kg; 15 st 5 lb)
Position Goaltender
Catches Left
NHL team
Former teams
Colorado Avalanche
Minnesota Wild
Los Angeles Kings
Arizona Coyotes
National team  Canada
NHL Draft 161st overall, 2009
Minnesota Wild
Playing career 2010–present

Darcy Kuemper (born May 5, 1990) is a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender for the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was selected by the Minnesota Wild in the sixth round, 161st overall, of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He has also played in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings and the Arizona Coyotes. Kuemper won the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2022.

Competing internationally with Team Canada, he won gold at the 2021 IIHF World Championship.

Early life

Kuemper was born on May 5, 1990, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan,[1] to police officer Brent and accountant Sharon Kuemper.[2] Saskatoon is home to a large ice hockey community, and Kuemper began ice skating by the age of three. In his early youth hockey leagues, players would take various turns at goaltender, and Kuemper always enjoyed his turn. At the age of 10, he decided to become a full-time goaltender.[3] His enjoyment of the position came from the fact that, while other skaters came on and off the ice in shifts, the goaltender was constantly involved in play.[4] As a child, Kuemper often played minor ice hockey alongside fellow Saskatoon natives Luke and Brayden Schenn.[5]

Kuemper's goaltending abilities first attracted attention when he played for the Saskatoon Contacts and Blazers in the Saskatchewan Male U18 AAA Hockey League (SMAAAHL) as an adolescent.[6] During the 2005–06 SMAAAHL season, Kuemper, who split time in net for the Contacts with Carl Jahrus, had a 16-3 record and was third in the league with 2.32 goals against average (GAA).[7] Kuemper and the Blazers came within one game of winning the SMAAAHL championship in 2008, but lost to the Notre Dame Hounds in five games.[8]

Playing career

Junior

The Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League (WHL) selected Kuemper 45th overall in the 2005 WHL Bantam Draft.[9] With most of his time under contract spent playing in Saskatoon as a WHL prospect, however, Kuemper only had 19 seconds of goal time with Spokane, when he relieved starting goaltender Dustin Tokarski at the end of a period during the 2007 WHL playoffs.[10] On December 13, 2007, Spokane traded Kuemper, who at that point was still playing with the Blazers, to the Red Deer Rebels in exchange for a conditional selection in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft.[11]

Kuemper started playing in the WHL during the 2008–09 season, backing up Morgan Clark on the Rebels.[12] Halfway through the season, however, he had taken over as the everyday goaltender for Red Deer.[13]

Kuemper played three seasons with the Red Deer Rebels, winning the Del Wilson Trophy in the 2010–11 season as the WHL's top goaltender, as well as the CHL Goaltender of the Year with 45 wins, a goals against average (GAA) of 1.86 and a save percentage of .933.[14]

Professional

Minnesota Wild

On May 26, 2011, Kuemper signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Minnesota Wild.[15] On October 13, 2011, he was loaned to the Ontario Reign of the ECHL.[16] Kuemper was later recalled by the Wild on November 12, 2011.[17]

Kuemper was recalled by the Wild on February 12, 2013. After then-backup goaltender Josh Harding had been ill due to complications from multiple sclerosis treatment, the Wild recalled Kuemper to start the same night to relieve Harding and the team's starting goaltender, Niklas Bäckström.[18] Five days later, on February 17, Kuemper made 29 saves on 31 shots to earn his first career NHL win against the Detroit Red Wings.[19]

On May 1, 2013, Kuemper was again recalled by the Wild to back up Josh Harding, who was starting as a result of an injury to Niklas Bäckström.[20] On May 7, Kuemper made his Stanley Cup playoff debut when he replaced Harding, who had suffered a left leg injury in the first period of a game against the Chicago Blackhawks.[21][22]

Kuemper with the Iowa Wild in 2015
Kuemper with the Iowa Wild in 2015

In the next season's playoffs, in 2014, Kuemper started in Game 3 of the Wild's Western Conference Quarter-finals matchup against the Colorado Avalanche, replacing Ilya Bryzgalov. Kuemper recorded a shutout in the game, and continued to start for the Wild until sustaining an injury in the third period of Game 7 of the same series. Bryzgalov replaced Kuemper again and was credited with the win upon Minnesota's overtime victory. The following season, Kuemper opened as Minnesota's starter with Bryzgalov departed and Harding unable to play. However, Kuemper struggled, and Minnesota traded for Devan Dubnyk, who immediately became the starter. Kuemper and Niklas Bäckström finished the season splitting time as Dubnyk's backup.

Los Angeles Kings

On July 1, 2017, Kuemper agreed to a one-year, $650,000 contract with the Los Angeles Kings.[23] In the 2017–18 season, Kuemper excelled in the backup role with the Kings, recording 10 wins in 19 appearances.

Arizona Coyotes

Kuemper with the Coyotes in 2019
Kuemper with the Coyotes in 2019

On February 21, 2018, Kuemper was traded to the Arizona Coyotes for goaltender Scott Wedgewood and forward Tobias Rieder. Kuemper was immediately re-signed to a two-year, $3.7 million extension by the Coyotes.[24]

With Antti Raanta injured for most of the 2018–19 season, Kuemper appeared in a career-high 55 games and posted a 27–20–8 record.[25] He finished fifth in voting for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the NHL's best goaltender.[26]

On October 2, 2019, the Coyotes signed Kuemper to a two-year, $9 million extension, ahead of the 2019–20 season. He appeared in 29 games with a 16–11–2 record and .928 save percentage before the regular season was prematurely concluded due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs were belatedly held in the summer in a bubble in Canada, Kuemper was widely considered the decisive factor in the Coyotes' victory over the Nashville Predators in the qualifying round. He recorded a .933 save percentage across four games where the Predators outshot the Coyotes in each.[27] The Coyotes advanced to face the Colorado Avalanche in the first round, losing in five games. Kuemper recorded a .895 save percentage in the series, but was generally assessed as having performed well in a situation where his team was overmatched, and notably made 49 saves to secure the team's lone win in Game 3.[28]

In the shortened 2020–21 season that would prove to be his final one with the Coyotes, Kuemper played only 27 of 56 games due to an MCL injury. He had only a .907 save percentage, which The Athletic called "serviceable" given the team's poor defense.[28]

Colorado Avalanche

On July 28, 2021, Kuemper was traded to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a 2022 first-round draft pick, a 2024 conditional third-round pick, and defenseman Conor Timmins.[29] He was acquired to replace the team's former starter Philipp Grubauer, who chose to depart in free agency to the Seattle Kraken.[26] While the team performed well from the beginning of the season, Kuemper was considered somewhat shaky, and after an early injury caused him to miss time it raised questions about the stability of the Avalanche's goaltending.[30][31] However, by the midpoint of the season he was considered to have improved markedly.[31] Kuemper finished with 37 wins (a career high), an overall record of 37–12–4, 5 shutouts, and a .921 save percentage in the regular season, all of which ranked in the top 5 for NHL goaltenders for the season. The Avalanche finished in second overall in the NHL in points and drew the Nashville Predators in the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs.[32]

Kuemper won his first two games in the first round against the Predators, but was forced to exit midway through Game 3 after Predators forward Ryan Johansen's stick accidentally slipped through his mask and poked him in the eye. He missed the fourth and final game of the series that completed the Avalanche's sweep of the Predators, but the injury proved to be minor.[33] He returned to the ice for the second round series and led the Avalanche past the St. Louis Blues in 6 games for their first apperance in the third round in 21 years.[34] However, he was forced to again exit during Game 1 of the Western Conference Final series against the Edmonton Oilers. It was announced that he would not play in Game 2, citing an unspecified upper body injury, with backup goaltender Pavel Francouz taking over again.[35] Kuemper returned to the roster for Game 4 as backup to Francouz, where the Avalanche completed their sweep of the Oilers and advanced to the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals.[36][37] He resumed the role of starter for Game 1 of the Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.[38] In Game 4, Kuemper became the first goaltender in NHL history to record an assist on an overtime goal in the Cup Finals, putting his team one win away from the Stanley Cup.[39] In a series deciding Game 6, Kuemper outdueled Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy one final time and stopped 22 of 23 shots as the Avalanche won their third title in franchise history.

International play

Medal record
Representing  Canada
Ice hockey
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2021 Latvia

On April 12, 2018, Kuemper was named to Team Canada's senior team to compete at the 2018 IIHF World Championship.[40] He played 7 games with a .867 save percentage, while Team Canada finished fourth. Kuemper joined Team Canada again for the 2021 IIHF World Championship. He recorded a .916 save percentage in 8 games, helping Team Canada win the gold medal.[28]

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP W L T/OT MIN GA SO GAA SV% GP W L MIN GA SO GAA SV%
2006–07 Spokane Chiefs WHL 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 .000
2008–09 Red Deer Rebels WHL 55 21 25 8 3167 156 3 2.96 .898
2009–10 Red Deer Rebels WHL 61 28 23 4 3234 147 3 2.73 .908 2 0 2 61 6 0 5.86 .806
2009–10 Houston Aeros AHL 4 2 1 0 199 8 0 2.41 .886
2010–11 Red Deer Rebels WHL 62 45 12 5 3685 114 13 1.86 .933 7 4 3 403 19 0 2.83 .896
2011–12 Ontario Reign ECHL 8 7 1 0 484 14 0 1.74 .941
2011–12 Houston Aeros AHL 19 6 6 4 1070 42 1 2.36 .923
2012–13 Houston Aeros AHL 21 13 8 0 1210 38 4 1.88 .934 2 1 1 119 3 1 1.51 .957
2012–13 Orlando Solar Bears ECHL 3 0 2 1 184 8 0 2.61 .929
2012–13 Minnesota Wild NHL 6 1 2 0 288 10 0 2.08 .916 2 0 0 73 4 0 3.29 .879
2013–14 Iowa Wild AHL 17 7 10 0 997 41 1 2.47 .929
2013–14 Minnesota Wild NHL 26 12 8 4 1480 60 2 2.43 .915 6 3 1 325 11 1 2.03 .913
2014–15 Minnesota Wild NHL 31 14 12 2 1569 68 3 2.60 .905 1 0 0 23 0 0 0.00 1.000
2014–15 Iowa Wild AHL 5 2 3 0 279 15 1 3.22 .891
2015–16 Minnesota Wild NHL 21 6 7 5 1064 43 2 2.43 .915
2016–17 Minnesota Wild NHL 18 8 5 3 1054 55 0 3.13 .902
2017–18 Los Angeles Kings NHL 19 10 1 3 1000 35 3 2.10 .932
2017–18 Arizona Coyotes NHL 10 2 6 2 597 32 1 3.22 .899
2018–19 Arizona Coyotes NHL 55 27 20 8 3252 126 5 2.33 .925
2019–20 Arizona Coyotes NHL 29 16 11 2 1754 65 2 2.22 .928 9 4 5 502 29 0 3.47 .913
2019–20 Tucson Roadrunners AHL 1 0 1 0 59 2 0 2.05 .929
2020–21 Arizona Coyotes NHL 27 10 11 3 1547 66 2 2.56 .907
2021–22 Colorado Avalanche NHL 57 37 12 4 3259 138 5 2.54 .921 16 10 4 887 38 1 2.57 .902
NHL totals 299 143 95 36 16,860 698 25 2.48 .918 34 17 10 1,811 82 2 2.72 .908

International

Year Team Event Result GP W L OT MIN GA SO GAA SV%
2018 Canada WC 4th 7 3 2 1 363 15 1 2.48 .867
2021 Canada WC 1st place, gold medalist(s) 8 5 2 0 470 17 0 2.17 .916
Senior totals 15 8 4 1 833 32 1 2.33 .892

Awards and honours

Award Year
WHL
Del Wilson Trophy 2011 [41]
Four Broncos Memorial Trophy 2011 [41]
East First All-Star Team 2011 [42]
CHL Goaltender of the Year 2011 [43]
NHL
All-Star Game 2020 [44]
Stanley Cup champion 2022

References

  1. ^ "Darcy Kuemper Stats and News". National Hockey League. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  2. ^ Russo, Michael (February 27, 2014). "Wild goalie Kuemper is one resilient rookie". Star Tribune. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  3. ^ Lew, Deborah (December 6, 2017). "Meet Darcy Kuemper: The Newest LA Kings Goaltender". National Hockey League. Los Angeles Kings. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  4. ^ Burnside, Scott (November 18, 2019). "The goalie's mindset: How the Coyotes' Darcy Kuemper rediscovered his joy for the game". The Athletic. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  5. ^ Morin, Richard (February 22, 2018). "Arizona Coyotes' newly acquired goaltender Darcy Kuemper 'excited' for future". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  6. ^ "Home sweet home for Saskatchewan products at NHL pre-season game". Global News. September 28, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  7. ^ "Complete makeover for Contacts". Saskatoon StarPhoenix. September 25, 2006. Retrieved November 20, 2021 – via PressReader.
  8. ^ Walper, Clint (March 29, 2008). "Dogs' day". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. p. B1. Retrieved November 20, 2021 – via Newspapers.com. icon of an open green padlock
  9. ^ McConachie, Doug (May 6, 2005). "Saskatoon continues to be a leading supplier". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. p. B3. Retrieved November 20, 2021 – via Newspapers.com. icon of an open green padlock
  10. ^ Wolfe, Cory (December 20, 2007). "Kuemper gets another shot between WHL pipes". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. p. B3. Retrieved November 20, 2021 – via Newspapers.com. icon of an open green padlock
  11. ^ "Chiefs trade Kuemper". The Spokesman-Review. December 13, 2007. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  12. ^ Meachem, Greg (September 18, 2008). "Counting on Kuemper". Red Deer Advocate. p. B5. Retrieved November 20, 2021 – via Newspapers.com. icon of an open green padlock
  13. ^ Wolfe, Cory (March 18, 2010). "Rebel with a cause". Saskatoon StarPhoenix. Retrieved November 20, 2021 – via PressReader.
  14. ^ "Rebels Darcy Kuemper named WHL player of the year". Red Deer Advocate. 2011-04-01. Archived from the original on 2012-04-01. Retrieved 2011-04-01.
  15. ^ "Wild Signs Darcy Kuemper To Entry Level Deal". May 27, 2011.
  16. ^ "Kuemper to guard Reign's net". Ontario Reign. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  17. ^ "Wild recalls Kuemper from Aeros". Minnesota Wild. 2011-11-12. Archived from the original on 2011-11-01. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  18. ^ "Josh Harding feeling "off" as he searches for right course of treatment for MS". Minnesota Star Tribune. 2013-02-12. Retrieved 2013-02-12.
  19. ^ "Zucker scores first NHL goal, Kuemper wins first NHL game as Wild rallies to beat Detroit". Minnesota Star Tribune. 2013-02-17. Retrieved 2013-02-17.
  20. ^ "With Niklas Backstrom's status uncertain, Wild recalls Darcy Kuemper". ESPN. 2013-05-01. Archived from the original on 2014-03-12. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
  21. ^ "Wild's goaltending situation in a truly tenuous spot now". Fox Sports. 2013-05-07. Retrieved 2013-05-07.
  22. ^ "Kuemper replaces Harding in goal". Minnesota Star Tribune. 2013-05-07. Retrieved 2013-05-07.
  23. ^ "LA Kings sign Goalie Darcy Kuemper". Los Angeles Kings. 2017-07-01. Retrieved 2017-07-01.
  24. ^ "LA Kings Acquire Tobias Rieder, Scott Wedgewood; Trade Kuemper to Coyotes". NHL.com. 21 February 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  25. ^ Morin, Richard. "Arizona Coyotes face questions about how to use goalies Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  26. ^ a b Collins, Kerry (October 8, 2021). "Avalanche Need Kuemper to Deliver Like Grubauer". The Hockey Writers. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  27. ^ "2020 Stanley Cup Playoff Preview: Coyotes vs. Avalanche". Sportsnet. August 10, 2020. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  28. ^ a b c Baugh, Peter (September 30, 2021). "'A small upgrade'? Why the Avalanche are betting on Darcy Kuemper to replace Philipp Grubauer". The Athletic. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  29. ^ "Avalanche acquire goaltender Darcy Kuemper from Coyotes". Sportsnet. July 28, 2021. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  30. ^ Vlahos, Len (December 9, 2021). "Big Questions Surround Avalanche Goaltending". The Hockey Writers. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  31. ^ a b Baugh, Peter (January 28, 2022). "Avalanche report cards: Midseason grades for every regular, from Cale Makar to Darcy Kuemper to Tyson Jost". The Athletic. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  32. ^ Luszczyszyn, Dom; Goldman, Shayna (May 1, 2022). "2022 NHL playoff preview: Avalanche vs. Predators". The Athletic. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  33. ^ Chambers, Mike (May 15, 2022). "Avalanche goalie Darcy Kuemper displays minor eye bruise at press conference". The Denver Post. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  34. ^ Boulding, Ryan (May 13, 2022). "Kuemper will be ready for Avalanche for start of second round". NHL.com. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  35. ^ Chambers, Mike (June 2, 2022). "Avalanche's Darcy Kuemper won't play in Game 2 vs. Edmonton Oilers. It's Pavel Francouz's net". The Denver Post. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  36. ^ "Avalanche's Kuemper returns as backup for Game 4 vs. Oilers". Sportsnet. June 6, 2022. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  37. ^ "Avalanche sweep Oilers, advance to Stanley Cup Final". Washington Post. June 6, 2022. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  38. ^ "Avalanche goalie Darcy Kuemper returns to start Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final". Sportsnet. June 15, 2022. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  39. ^ Jerez, Jeremy (June 22, 2022). "Darcy Kuemper made the big saves in Game 4 and helped set up Nazem Kadri's memorable overtime winner". Mile High Hockey. Retrieved June 24, 2022.
  40. ^ "HOCKEY CANADA NAMES FIRST 18 PLAYERS TO 2018 IIHF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP ROSTER". hockeycanada.ca. April 12, 2018. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  41. ^ a b "Kuemper award Del Wilson Trophy". Canadian Press. 2011-04-01. Retrieved 2011-04-01.[dead link]
  42. ^ "WHL East All-Stars and Awards". Western Hockey League. Mar 23, 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-04-26.
  43. ^ "CHL Announces 2010-11 Award Winners – Memorial Cup".
  44. ^ "NHL All-Star Game rosters revealed". National Hockey League. December 30, 2019. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
Awards and achievements Preceded byMartin Jones Winner of the WHL Del Wilson Trophy 2010–11 Succeeded byTyler Bunz