Arizona Coyotes Darcy Kuemper Keeping His Team Competitive

Darcy Kuemper
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 09: Goaltender Darcy Kuemper #35 of the Arizona Coyotes makes a glove save on a shot from the Los Angeles Kings during the second period of the NHL game at Gila River Arena on March 09, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

When the Arizona Coyotes discovered that they would be without starting goalie Antti Raanta, they put all their faith in backup Darcy Kuemper.

Thus far he has come through with flying colours lifting the Yotes to within a point of a wild-card spot several times of late.

Darcy Keumper Has Been Magnificent

Since Jan. 1, 2019 Darcy Kuemper has an amazing 18-5-3 record. His save percentage has been stellar with .928.

Then the Chicago Blackhawks Changed That

Darcy Kuemper’s over the top statistics took a huge hit last night as he finally had a bad night… well the entire team did and lost 7-1. To show how one game can really affect your numbers before the game his statistics were better. In fact, he had the best record since the first of the year.

Prior to the Chicago fiasco, he was 17-4-2, with a .929 save percentage and a golden 2.18 goals against average, but fell to 17-5-2 and .925 save percentage before being picked back up by making 39 saves on 40 shots in St. Louis.

Kuemper has kept the hungry Arizona Coyotes in plenty of games with some timely saves and has had three shutouts, including one against the powerful Toronto Maple Leafs.

Darcy Kuemper’s Contribution

The Arizona Coyotes would not be fighting for a wild-card playoff spot without the excellent play of their goalies. The team just doesn’t score enough goals to be able to get sloppy with their defence¬†or goaltending. They average only 2.61 goals a game while allowing just 2.81 due to their defence and goaltending.

When they play the system that head coach Rick Tocchet and his coaches have implemented they play winning hockey. When they turn over pucks and can’t get out of their own zone, disaster strikes.

Acquiring Darcy Kuemper Was Pivotal

The Arizona Coyotes traded for Kuemper on Feb. 21, 2018 in a deal with the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings received Tobias Rieder and goalie Scott Wedgewood.

Thus far this trade looks to have been a huge success for the Arizona club. Rieder tallied just four goals, two assists in the 20 games he played in L.A. He then signed with the Edmonton Oilers where he hasn’t done much of anything.

He has yet to score in 55 games there but does have 11 assists. Wedgewood was signed by the Buffalo Sabres and is currently playing for the Rochester Americans of the AHL.

Had the Coyotes known that they would lose their starting goalie in Antti Raanta and receive the performance they are so far this season from Kuemper… they may have acquired him sooner.

The question now becomes with Kuemper’s outstanding play, who will the starter be next season? It’s got to be every team’s greatest wish to have two comparable netminders with equal skills to give you the effort expected to make a playoff run.

Kuemper may just get the nod. At this point, Raanta’s fragile health makes him a question mark as to whether he can stay healthy enough to finish a season. That being said, having both quality goalies healthy and playing at their best will go a long way for the Coyotes’ future.

If the Coyotes come out of the scramble in the wild Western Conference playoff it may very well be due to the guy between the pipes.

Darcy Kuemper.

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