The Colorado Avalanche are seeing inconsistent play from goalie Darcy Kuemper. Is he going to be the right fit for the team?
The Colorado Avalanche have finally been trending up. After what can only be categorized as a slow start, the team has enjoyed a nice winning streak of five in a row. They’re 7-2-1 in the last 10 games. That’s the Colorado team we were all expecting going into the season.
When a team is enjoying some success like that, it seems silly to question the current formula. Indeed, the goalie who backstopped the team to such success is more likely to be lauded than questioned.
Well, I’m going to question nonetheless. It’s no secret the Avs were backed into the corner of taking Darcy Kuemper on as their goalie. They let Semyon Varlamov go in free agency with the idea that Philipp Grubauer was their goalie of the future. Unfortunately, that future lasted only two seasons and saw Grubauer also escape in free agency — a less-planned loss than the Varlamov one.
So, a team that meant to challenge for the Stanley Cup was left without a viable starting goalie. Enter Darcy Kuemper, whom Colorado traded away promising prospect Conor Timmins and a couple of draft picks for.
Kuemper is a former Minnesota Wild goalie, so that acquisition never sat well with me. Granted he’s spent the last five seasons with other teams, mainly the Arizona Coyotes, but Kuemper never impressed me in any uniform.
The jury is still out on whether he’ll impress me in this uniform.
Back to Kuemper’s stats. They’re not bad. In fact, they’re mostly what you’d expect from a starting goalie. In the 13 games he’s started for Colorado, he’s recorded a 2.79 goals against average and a .906 save percentage. Like I said, pretty average for a starting goalie.
What’s more, he’s currently the goalie in net during the five-game winning streak. However, the reason that streak wasn’t broken in the game against the Ottawa Senators is the high-octane offensive show the Avalanche put on. They scored seven goals, which was just enough to make up for the five Kuemper let in. In 20 shots. Yes, he posted a .750 save percentage by stopping just 15 of the 20 shots that he faced.
We’re lucky that stinker of a game didn’t cost the Colorado Avalanche their win. A couple times, such ineffective play was at least partially responsible for Avs losses. I’m looking at the St. Louis and Washington games early in the season.
You can never blame a single player, not even a goalie, for a team’s loss. Indeed, there were games when Kuemper played well and the Avs skaters couldn’t score enough goals to record a win. What’s more, the Avalanche still break down defensively on a pretty regular basis. So, many times Kuemper is hung out to dry.
Well, barring another trade — hello trade deadline — Darcy Kuemper is likely the goalie of our season. Can he backstop the Colorado Avalanche all the way to the Finals and ultimate glory? I personally don’t think so, but that’s why teams play the games — to see what happens.