Photo: Sporting News
The Washington Capitals announced on Wednesday that they have signed unrestricted free agent goaltender and 2022 Stanley Cup Champion Darcy Kuemper to a five-year contract that carries a $5.25 million cap hit after the open market opened at 12 noon ET.
Darcy Kuemper, signed 5x$5.25M by WSH, has been one of the best goalies in hockey in the past three seasons. Despite winning a Cup, he’s flown under the radar thanks to playing in Arizona and then suffering an eye injury in round one that hurt his play on the big stage. #AllCaps pic.twitter.com/eJT5M0cM0g
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 13, 2022
“Darcy is an established starting netminder who proved that he can win on the game’s biggest stage, and we are excited to welcome him to Washington,” said GM Brian MacLellan. “We feel this signing will provide our team confidence and stability in net.”
The team was in need of a goaltender after Ilya Samsonov, who finished the regular season 23-12-5 with an .896 save percentage, a 3.02 goals-against average, and three shutouts despite an 11-1-1 start where he posted a .916 save percentage, a 2.42 goals-against average through December 9, and Vitek Vanecek both could not run with the starting job after picking it up at numerous points last season. Vanecek was traded to the New Jersey Devils on Friday morning so the Capitals could sign Kuemper. Samsonov signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday after not receiving a qualifying offer.
The 32-year-old went 37-12-4 (tied for fourth in the NHL in wins), a .921 save percentage (fifth), a 2.54 goals-against average (11th), and five shutouts (tied for fourth) with the Colorado Avalanche in the regular season. At five-on-five, Kuemper earned a .928 save percentage, a 2.26 goals-against average, a 4.33 goals-saved above average, and a .863 high-danger save percentage. He also finished with an .879 save percentage and a 2.32 goals-saved above average on the penalty kill. Kuemper posted at least a .920 save percentage and a 2.56 goals-against at most in each of the last five seasons.
During the Avalanche’s run to the Stanley Cup this past Spring, Kuemper went 10-4 with a .902 save percentage, a 2.57 goals-against average, and one shutout.
In 299 career regular-season games with the Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, Los Angeles Kings, and Arizona Coyotes, Kuemper has gone 143-95-36 with a .918 save percentage, 2.48 goals-against average, and 25 shutouts. The best season of his career came in 2019-20, when he posted personal-bests with a .928 save percentage and a 2.22 goals-against average with the Coyotes. Kuemper also went 16-11-2 and had two shutouts that season.
In 34 career postseason outings, Kuemper has earned a 17-10 record with a .908 save percentage, 2.72 goals-against average, and two shutouts.
It was reported after the Avalanche acquired goaltender Alexander Georgiev from the New York Rangers on Thursday that Kuemper would not return to the Mile High City.
After signing Kuemper, the Capitals have $6,278,334 left in cap space.
Kuemper will face the Avalanche for the first time as a member of the Capitals on November 19 at Capital One Arena. He will return to Ball Arena on January 24.
Kuemper contract with Caps
Year 1, $6 M
Year 2, $6 M
Year 3, $6 M
Year 4, $4.5 M
Year 5, $3.75 M
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 13, 2022
By Harrison Brown