The Colorado Avalanche have to prioritize re-signing goaltender Darcy Kuemper this offseason.
Now the festivities are winding down and celebrations are over. Well, at least for General Managers anyway. The NHL Draft and free agency are upon us and it’s time for teams to supplement or retool their rosters. The goalie market is going to be very lucrative this offseason. Goaltenders like Jack Campbell, Mikko Koskinen, Marc-André Fleury, and Braden Holtby will be available. Teams in need of a new netminder will have plenty of options. 2022 Stanley Cup Champion Darcy Kuemper will be a sought-after commodity as well.
The Colorado Avalanche took a gamble trading for Kuemper last summer. It paid off, as Kuemper was a major factor in securing a title for Colorado. But now it’s time for the Avs to decide whether to re-sign Darcy Kuemper or not. The Avs have a lot of free agents coming up, some key pieces, other teams’ deadline rentals. The core of the Avalanche remains intact, but they still need to round out the other parts to defend their title. The big one: goaltender.
Darcy Kuemper Stepped Up when Needed
There were a lot of doubts about Kuemper at the start of the season. A 4-5-1 record in November had people questioning if he was the man for the job. During December, Kuemper found his footing, along with the rest of the team. From January on, Kuemper was downright brilliant. He looked like a Vezina contender at times and would steal games for the Avs. He was one of the hottest goaltenders going into the playoffs.
His best came in the Stanley Cup Final. After some shaky starts, including getting pulled in Game 3, Darcy Kuemper locked it down for the final two games. He was able to push Game 4 to overtime, where Nazem Kadri scored the game winner. His crowning achievement was only allowing one goal in the decisive Game 6. On the road against the Lightning, Kuemper made major saves when needed. His best one was stopping a slapshot from wide open Nikita Kucherov in the final minutes.
Kuemper answered the bell when he needed to and it won the Avalanche a Stanley Cup. He battled through a lot of injuries, including one to his eye during the playoffs. He did everything asked of him and then some.
Darcy Kuemper Is A Better Option Than Most
Darcy Kuemper is one of the better options on the market this offseason. Netminders like Jack Campbell and Mikko Koskinen will be sought after heavily. Marc-André Fleury, despite maintaining consistency, is a risk given his age. Braden Holtby and Jaroslav Halak, once lauded, are no longer the elite goaltenders they used to be. Veterans like Martin Jones and David Rittich aren’t prime options for a contender.
Darcy Kuemper has shown elite ability and consistent form for a while now. Now he has playoff pedigree and a Stanley Cup ring to add to his résumé. He will get a lot of offers on the market. If Colorado doesn’t make a premiere offer, someone definitely will. Expect teams like Edmonton, Toronto, and Minnesota to make a run at him. Joe Sakic needs to get there first.
The Colorado Avalanche have the roster capable of a repeat. The core remains intact and the depth will be easy to supplement. Cheap free agents are available and the Avalanche have a rich prospect pool. Free agents like Valeri Nichushkin will be a top priority for Colorado. But Darcy Kuemper needs to be re-signed. The Avalanche can run it back with a lot of options. But their best option is to bring back Kuemper. If the Avalanche want another parade next summer, Darcy Kuemper needs to remain in the burgundy and blue.